Monday, January 31, 2011

The Saved Quarter Challenge Monthly Update

Hello to all my fellow Saved Quarter Challenge getting out of debt peeps.
My goal is to get on autopilot with my savings and debt repayment.
Oddly, the savings part is coming easier than the debt repayment part.
Transferred $100 to my IRA, and will deposit Bathboy's $45 paycheck (I cash it for him, giving him half and putting the other half into a savings account for him, then deposit the paper check for myself) into my semi Xmas fund.
I only put $300 toward credit card debt (this week), and increased the total owed after paying my IRS screw up from last year.
Overall, this is how it looks for the first month of The Saved Quarter Challenge:
Started January with $16,600.
Now $15,711.
Credit Score was 671.
Now 678.
$300 toward retirement.
$200 toward Xmas fund.
Overall, this month was ok, and would have been great if not for the IRS mix up.
I need to keep my eyes on eliminating the credit card debt, as once that's gone, so much cash flow will be freed up.
Anyone else rocking The Saved Quarter Challenge?
Great Blog: Gail Vaz Oxlade

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Finally, they took my payment.

Confirmation of Payment

Below is your confirmation for this payment. Please print this page using your browser's print function.
Be sure to write down your confirmation number for future reference.

Confirmation Information

Confirmation #: 20098B

Account Type: Visa
Credit Card Number: ********** Expiration Date:
Amount Charged: $1,401.20

Now, to pay it off :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

Some meals from last week got moved to this week.
The joy of snow days and hectic schedules.
Monday: Angel Hair Pasta, Red Sauce, Meatballs, sub rolls, salad (used up the last in the fridge).
Tuesday: Chicken Fried Rice Stir Fry.
Wednesday: Pork Chops, Salad, Au Gratin Potatoes
Thursday:Baked Ziti (this is Rainman dependent, if he requests it we have it, if not, we shall see, because I have ricotta cheese I really need to use up).
Friday: Soup/Salad (most likely just me).
Saturday: BLTs
Sunday: Fend for yourself
I have all of the ingredients in the pantry, except for salad, which I'll pick up later in the week.
I took the advice of Penny at The Saved Quarter, and called Visa.
They dropped my interest rate 4 points, which isn't great, but it's almost paid off, and it's better than nothing :)
Especially when work is deader than dead.

Credit Card Debt: $14,339
Great Blog: Eat At Home Cooks

Friday, January 21, 2011

Debt Progess

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
I find myself saying that quite often, these days.
Especially like today, snow day, stay home from school day for everyone but Rainman, who wants to simply drive for hours to stave off the no school tantrum.
I really have no idea how he's going to handle not going to school every day when he ages out in three years.
Got a surprise child support payment (my younger two's father rarely pays child support), and put that toward Visa.
Not a great week income wise, but that's where the swimming part comes in.
Paid myself $100 into E*Trade first thing ( as suggested by Penny at The Saved Quarter Challenge) and while it's not painless, it's the only way I save.
Going to bite the bullet, and as Grace at Thrifty Cheapskate suggested, just pay state taxes and use the mistaken federal tax payment towards 2010 federal.
This sucks, because it's $1400, and since it's not planned for/budgeted, there's really nowhere to take it from, so will put it on Visa.
And I was getting so close to snowballing the Visa debt off.
Other random bills:cell, student loan, and DunkinDonuts recharge (don't judge me, keeps me sane).
Credit Card Debt: $14,339.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

Monday: Corned Beef and Cabbage in the crockpot(Rainman Mac and Cheese)
Tuesday: Chicken for the Lazy, mashed potatoes/salad (because someone took out a roaster from the big freezer *shakes fist*)
Wednesday: Leftover chicken and Coconut Rice (depending on how many are home)
Thursday: Baked Ziti/Garlic Bread
Friday: Thai Peanut Noodles
Saturday: Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
Sunday:Leftovers- fend for yourself.

Paid the monthly car loan plus principal.
Paid myself first, as suggested by the Saved Quarter Challenge.
On track pretty much otherwise.
Still debating the fund fully 2010 IRA vs get rid of the Visa debt.

Great Blog: Single Mom Rich Mom

Money Progress

It's still January, and I need a carrot to go with the stick of paying off credit card debt.
$4190. is the balance I have left on my Visa, and once that is paid off, I plan on transferring my remaining Discover debt to Visa, and get 0% interest until it's gone.
What I am still up in the air about is whether to get this debt monkey off my back as fast as possible, to the detriment of my retirement savings this year, or taking a month or so off and finish off my Roth IRA for 2010.
Back to the $4190.
To stave off debt fatigue, as soon as I pay off my Visa, I am going to allow myself a reward in the form of TurboFire Deluxe.
Going over my prior year's tax payments, I some how managed to pay Federal tax that was supposed to go to State, and getting the payment amount credited to the right place is apparently impossible.
Going to try one more time Tuesday or Wednesday, and if no one can help then going to say screw it and just pay State tax outright and then use the Federal payment overage to what I may owe this go round.

Paid Sallie Mae.
$100 E*Trade Roth IRA
Still need to pay my car loan, most likely tomorrow.
Credit Card Debt: $14,642.

Great Blog: Violent Acres

Credit Card Debt Update

Snow days are really interfering with my Saved Quarter Challenge mojo.
No school today, and late starts tomorrow leave me drained from keeping Rainman entertained while doing the Mommy Taxi thing for the others.
Just no time to do more work than "get by" stuff.
"Get by" does not make my bank account happy.
Since I paid the mortgage and a student loan (2 others are due next week as well as my car loan this Friday), I am not going to beat myself up about not throwing more money at the credit card debt on Friday, but counting what I paid Monday as my Saved Quarter Challenge goal met.
I still need to meet my pay myself first savings goal on Friday, and see what bills are left for the rest of January.
I also would like to incorporate menu planning, as other Mommy Bloggers swear by it for lowering grocery bills.

Great Blog: Budget Bytes
Credit Card Debt: $14,642.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Saved Quarter Challenge

Deposit came this morning, and out of that, put $620 toward CC debt.
On The Saved Quarter, there is a very timely post about paying yourself first.
I have in the past put this in play, and intellectually I know it works.
My savings will be on hold until I get my credit card debt paid off, but I still need a cushion, bigger than what I have on hand now.
My Saved Quarter Challenge Goal from now until I pay off my credit card debt will be to put away $50 to E*Trade each Friday.
I need this credit card debt gone so bad I can taste it.

Great Blog: Graceful Retirement
Credit Card Debt: $15,170.
On my nightstand: Dirty Secret by Jessie Sholl

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snowballing Snowflaking Debt

Sounds vaguely obscene, doesn't it?
If it's not clear, being self employed, my income is extremely variable.
At the beginning of the month, certain deposits are scheduled to come in, with others schedule through the month.
As any self employed person knows, never count on money until it's actually in your hand/direct deposited in your bank account.
Got a $250 deposit, and put that right toward credit card debt.
Yay me!

Looking at other personal finance blogs today, there seems to be widely differing opinions on coupons.
I spend way too much on food, and when I read "I spent $25 for a whole week's worth of food with coupons!" entries on Mommy bloggers blogs, I cringe to post what I spend on food.
Part of my problem is, four teenagers simply eat massive amounts of food.
With three of those teens being boys, they inhale food.
Two of the males have sensory issues, and meal time is a minefield no matter what.
My daughter eats like a bird, but she goes through veggies like it's her job.
The other issue I have is- I love to cook.
Not the "what's for dinner" type of cooking, but trying new recipes a la Dorie Greenspan.
I'm not willing ( and am lucky to be in a position to not have to, although seeing my debt others may disagree) cut down on buying fresh fruits and vegetables, but I do need to knock off the convenience junk food.
My compromise is buying most of my fresh foods at BJ's Wholesale Club, and picking up loss leaders according to the grocery flyers.
BJ's does accept coupons, but it really depends on the cashier's knowledge of BJ's coupon policy, and after a few bad experiences with coupons, I have been lazy about match ups.
Also, BJ's generic products (for which there are no coupons), so far have been equal to the name brand toilet paper, shampoo, deli products, and baking goods that I usually buy.
I really need to add "use coupons wisely" to my New Year's resolutions. :)

Great Blog I just found: Broke Foodie
Credit card debt: $15,420.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Saved Quarter Challenge First Week.

Still waiting on some deposits, which were supposed to come today but nothing as of yet.
Out of the one that did come, paid health insurance and my Saved Quarter Challenge Goal.
I need a new printer (after Rainman did the Hulk Smash on my other one), and will try to pick one up this weekend.
Other planned spending will be jeans/sweatpants for Bathboy, who desperately needs longer ones (teen age growth spurts kill me), and cashing his paycheck, which I will then deposit into my Credit Union Savings Account for next Xmas (only $45 from his one shift a week, but my plan is to use it for Xmas/birthday gifts over the year).
Saved Quarter Challenge: $400/$400 done.
Off to a great start!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Why does when one stressful thing happen, it seems like the floodgates open?
I did pretty well on the food budget, but ended up spending way more than I wanted to on things that could definitely be classified as wants.
Roughly $100 toward food, but on last minute school supplies for my youngest's major project, sneakers for me, and stuff I used to stockpile with coupons but have been buying, skewed my other spending to $150 more, all spent yesterday.
And today, after having one of the twin's home all day unexpectedly, and the other a planned half day which is always stressful, my eating is way up.
And, I need to exercise.
Didn't do anything at all today, and I know the less I move, the more stressed I get, and there goes the eating.
Planned spending today was car insurance, and the planned kid lunch spending.
Still hoping to make my planned $400 toward CC debt on Friday.
Wish me luck.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Saved Quarter Challenge

The Saved Quarter has a great challenge up.

1.Determine your objective.
My objective is financially, erase CC debt, and personally, lose a substantial amount of weight.
To erase it in one year, I need to channel roughly $400. per week toward CC debt.
Weight wise, I'm aiming for two pounds a week, but will be ok with one pound per week.
For that, I need a 1k per day calorie deficient.
That's really not too bad.
2. Specific, measurable goals.
Above and beyond my other bills, I need to channel $400 weekly toward debt.
For the 1k daily deficient, daily walk or DVD along with cutting calories as tracked by my BodyMedia.
3. List ways to make or save money toward goal.
For January, do a freezer challenge.
Still buying fruits and veggies, but eating through my huge chest freezer.
Bake from scratch.
Aim for $100 week food goal.
Overhaul P Affs, N accounts, goal 100 b's per week.
Off to market my little heart out!