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Please Help Me Decide

April 13th, 2011 at 10:30 am

The life insurance money is now safely tucked into my Roth.

On Monday I will be receiving my seasonal OT check (about 80 hours) and my bonus. I expect to clear about 4k.

I am going back and forth on what to do. Please help me decide!

Plan 1
Pay off B of A Visa. Balance approximately 3.2k.
.3k to son.
Remainder to checking towards yard maintenance.

Plan 2
1k to B of A Visa
1k to Roth
.3k to EF
.3k to Egypt savings
.3k to son
.3k to Trad IRA
Remainder to hold until yard maintenance complete, then pay down B of A some more with what is left.

It would feel GREAT to pay off B of A. But without that extra boost to Roth, I may not hit my 3k goal.


Bill Paying Evening

March 16th, 2011 at 10:18 am

So last night was bill paying evening, after paying everything, I have $1200 left in checking, and I have another $226 coming in next week. Not bad at all, considering the small 2/28 paycheck. I have decided I will not keep surplus greater than $1500 sitting there, but will instead transfer it to savings.

This month I paid $420 to B of A Visa. That's $85 budgeted, plus $149 from EF (sent it $1), plus $78 from selling a credit card reward gift card, plus $8 from Beezag, plus $100 received from someone who owed me $100. My new balance is $3,330.53. I think I will be able to pay it in full next month. Smile

My 3/31 paycheck will be for 12 days, so that will make up for half of 2/28's shortage. My budget is based on 11 workdays per pay period, but the occasional 10 and 12 days do happen. That 9 though was really ugly.

Intent to Kill (B of A credit card)

March 9th, 2011 at 02:13 pm

I have decided something else too. I am not going to chip the $128 in credit card rewards I expect any moment now. I am not going to add any new money to my main savings account. I am not going to use my bonus money next month towards savings, Roth, mortgage, etc. Instead, I am going to kill my B of A credit card debt.

I should be able to kill it next month. Following its demise, I will have a bit more free cash flow to use towards savings goals.


February 18th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

This is something new to me. Inbox dollars paid me $3 to sign up with Offermatic. You register your credit/debit card with Offermatic and based on your activity, you are offered rebates. For example, spend $20 at Target, get a $10 rebate right on your credit/debit card. Spend $20 at Shell, get a $10 rebate. So, I went right ahead and registered.

Here is a referral link, if you are interested. If you do Inbox dollars, be sure to link from them to get your $3.


Cancelling Universal Life Policy

February 17th, 2011 at 08:44 pm

The last joint account that my ex-husband and I have is a universal life insurance policy. The benefit amount is 300k on him, 130k on me, and 5k riders on each child. We are still splitting the cost and it has a small cash value (I think right around $1900). Our daughter is 20 and married, living in another state with her husband who is in the Army. Our son is 15. As we are no longer married, the chance of us dying together is quite small. I feel we no longer need this policy. I told ex-husband this several months back, but he wanted to keep it.

Additionally, I have a 50k term policy with ex-husband being the beneficiary. I would like to change that to 50% each child. They are already the primary beneficiaries of my retirement funds.

Ex-husband called me today and says he wants to cancel the universal life policy. He needs his half of the cash value and doesn't want to keep paying the premiums. He says he will up the term policy he buys through work. I said that is fine with me.

So, he will be cancelling that soon and I will be receiving my half. I have thought it over today, and I think I will put my half into my Roth.

Also, my life insurance costs will decrease by $28 per month. I plan to send $25 to my emergency fund and allow another $3 for "everything else".

My emergency fund should break the 10k mark in April. I think that is enough of an e-fund for someone with credit card debt, so after breaking 10k, I will direct those dollars to B of A Visa.

More Budget Tweaks

February 7th, 2011 at 03:32 pm

I decided to go ahead and tweak my monthly budget. Since I spent $360 out of $500 budgeted grocery dollars, I am going to cut my grocery budget to $450. I am going to save an additional $20 in my emergency fund, pay an additional $5 on my credit card debt, and bump "Everything Else" from $163 to $188. Ideally, I won't be spending much of "Everything Else" and so will have some surplus built up in checking to handle unbudgeted expenses.

"Groceries" is really for groceries and household items such as cleaning products, lightbulbs, etc. I have to feed myself, my 15 year old son 5 days a week, my 34 year old nephew, and 3 dogs. One dog is my nephew's, the other two are dogs my ex-husband let my son adopt. When my ex-husband lost his house to foreclosure last year, he couldn't find a rental which would allow him to keep the dogs. My son loves those dogs, I couldn't let them go to the pound, so I have them now.

Also, I count my son's meals at school as "groceries".

I think I can do better than $450, but I don't want to adjust my budget down further based on only 1 month's grocery expenditures. I'm still new to this tracking business, so I don't have much data for analysis.

More Unexpected Cash

January 24th, 2011 at 08:16 pm

This evening, my nephew surprised me with another $100. I believe I will throw it at my credit card debt.

In other financial news, my Inbox dollars account is up to $41.64. If I request a check, I get the message about the $3 fee. I am waiting for a $6 payment from Nielsen (that one is paid after 35 days) and $15 for applying for a Sony card (through Capital One). Once I hit $50, if there is still a $3 fee then I will just pay it. At the moment, I prefer to wait just a bit longer and see if I can avoid it.

And finally, it looks as though my income tax situation for 2010 is refunds of $1600 or so. I received my 1098T (for tuition) today and will run a diagnostic tomorrow to determine which credit works best for me, or perhaps take the deduction. Then I will be all ready to e-file, and will be more concrete than "$1600 or so". My car insurance will need to be paid soon, so I will deposit $800 into checking to cover that, and the rest will go towards credit card debt reduction.

Paid Chase Freedom

December 20th, 2010 at 04:05 pm

Well, I paid Chase Freedom in full today. I am sad that my whole bonus plus more went to it, but on the other hand I am glad I was able to pay it.

Is the glass half empty or half full?

Christmas Party Night

December 18th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

So we had our annual Christmas dinner, and it was an enjoyable evening as always. I did get a very nice bonus this year for $1750, which I felt was very generous. Also, it is just nice to feel that your efforts are appreciated!

So, I am considering how to best use it. It will almost pay the remaining balance on my Chase Freedom in full. However, I am leaning towards $1500 to Chase and $250 in my Roth. I do fret that I won't hit my Roth goal of 150k.

Bill Paying Evening

December 15th, 2010 at 07:24 pm

Well tonight is bill paying evening, and I am encouraged by the difference 2 weeks of being careful with my spending has made already. I have just paid all of my bills for the month, made small savings account deposits, paid $500 towards Chase Freedom, and have 785.99 left. Not bad! Smile I expect to hang on to about half of that, spend about half on groceries, gifts, and a few outings while son is out of school for Christmas break.

I still owe 1873.99 to Chase. Bleh. Hopefully, my Christmas bonus will take care of most of it.

A Mortgage Chip

December 14th, 2010 at 06:57 pm

I received a rewards check from my Chase Freedom card in the amount of $25. I intend to use it to take a little chip out of my mortgage.

Also, I received an email from HauserNet that I have been assigned a project and I should expect to begin receiving some decoy mail in the coming weeks. That income will also be used for mortgage chips.

I am going back and forth about using my theoretical Christmas bonus towards my Chase Freedom Visa bill 100%, or splitting it out 40/20/20/10/10 and transferring still more to my Bank of America Visa.

This Friday night, I will know for sure if my bonus is only theoretical or wonderfully real.

Extra Money

December 11th, 2010 at 01:37 pm

I have been thinking I need to have a standard allocation for extra income. I don't mean tiny amounts such as from decoy mail, but the occasional large chunk of extra money. In the past, I have decided on a case by case basis how to best use each cash infusion, but I want to stop doing that.

Here is my extra money allocation:

40% credit card debt
20% Roth IRA
20% regular savings
10% Egypt savings
10% mortgage

Once my credit card debt is gone, I will decide on a new allocation.

There is a reason I have been thinking about this lately. I usually get a Christmas bonus. I hope that will be true this year as well, but of course I can't count on it. Also, it is almost the time of year for seasonal overtime at my place of employment. I will literally be able to work all of the overtime I can stand for several months. The way it is handled is to record the overtime, then pay it all in one sweet check at the end of the high-volume period. In addition, a bonus is traditionally paid.

Last Big Chase Freedom Statement

December 11th, 2010 at 01:25 pm

I have received my Chase Freedom card statement, and it is big again. This is no surprise, I already knew it would be. I had been thinking I would cash flow it (I expect to be able to do that, no transfer from savings required), but now I am thinking I won't. I am thinking I will do a balance transfer one last time, making my B of A Visa bigger yet.

I am determined that this will be my last big statement.

My Credit Card Debt

December 5th, 2010 at 11:16 am

I have a Chase Freedom card which I use for day to day purchases such as gasoline. I also have a few recurring charges automatically billed to it, such as my newspaper subscription and Netflix. I try to keep the total charges to $500 or less each month. In each of the last 3 months, I have gone way over and had more charges than I could pay. In each of the 3 months, I transfered the unpaid balance to my Bank of America Visa, which offered me 1.99% until July 2011. When my promotional rate ends, my rate will be variable. At the moment, my variable rate is 7.24%. I really want to get this paid off. I owe $4,460.69 to Bank of America.

Have Never Tracked My Cash

December 5th, 2010 at 10:26 am

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit, in all my adult years, I have never tracked my cash spending. I know I have to rectify this, as I have been overspending. Frown I need to cut it out. In the past few months, I have taken on some credit card debt. There was a time in my life when I was swimming in credit card debt, but had been completely free of it for the last decade or so. However, I can no longer say that.

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