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UFMC Days 15-22

January 22nd, 2019 at 09:35 am

I haven't updated this in a bit. The 2 credit card payments are the card that I use regularly and pay off. The Etsy purchase was a coming home outfit for baby. Since I don't know the gender, I tasked DH with picking something out. Since he was headed somewhere shortly, he went ahead and purchased quickly. I will keep said outfit in the package and bring it to the hospital. There's been some spending today, but not too bad.

Day 15 Update: Student Loan Payments ($386.61, 100.65, 35.20); Car Insurance ($116.24)

Day 16: NSD

Day 17: Vet Appt. ($58)

Day 18: Credit Card Payment ($1110.85); Groceries ($30.58)

Day 19: Credit Card Payment ($1090.17) Money In - My normal paycheck

Day 20: Gas ($22.09); Etsy ($36.94); Pest Control (2nd payment for termite treatment - $811.50); Air for Tires ($1.47)

Day 21: NSD

Screwy Finances and UFMC Day 15

January 16th, 2019 at 10:18 am

So here I was rolling along in the UFMC when I got an email yesterday that my personal account was below $25. I keep a $100 buffer and had another couple hundred in there allocated to a future CC payment, so I was very surprised. I logged in to the account and saw that I was indeed negative $33 bucks! Fortunately, it was only pending as most of the payments hadn't hit. The culprit was that my Navient student loans (set on IBR) had more than doubled in payment. I didn't receive any indication that this was happening, but fortunately, I caught it in time to transfer money from our joint account to cover it. While it'll be nice to see the student loan balance finally decreasing a bit, I was completely unprepared for this. I'll need to modify my direct deposits to ensure enough is coming in to my personal account to cover the new payments. While we can afford it, it'll mean slower progress on the other debt payoffs we'd planned to focus on.

UFMC Days 10-14 + Part of Day 15

January 15th, 2019 at 09:20 am

First, an update to day 8. Apparently, I had set the electric bill to autopay, and it took out the $367+ even though I'd paid it on the 2nd. For the next month or 2, we'll have a credit on the electric bill. I moved the money from next month's category back to this month to cover it.

Day 10 - College Donation ($15 - It was our day of giving and any amount counted towards the percentage of the class that donated, so I just gave a minimal amount.)

Day 11 - Petsmart ($27 for cat food); Amazon ($71 for an impulse purchase. The side controllers for the Switch were on sale, and since DH is in limbo, he asked for them. He's taking minimal spending money on his paychecks, so I gave in.); Car ($780 - Ouch! But it was everything needed to get the car in decent shape to hand over to my brother. New brakes, rotors, spark plugs, tires rotated and aligned, new wipers and air filters, engine block cleaning, fixed the hood latch, and even straightened up inside my car which is a total mess.)

Day 12-14 - No extraneous spending

Day 15 - Money In: $2100 for DH's pay; $25 for my mom's regular transfer. No other spending anticipated.

UFMC Days 8&9

January 10th, 2019 at 05:00 am

Day 8 - No spend day!

Day 9 - Phone Bill ($196 - yes, I know it's outrageous); Edit: Money In - $94.07 (FSA reimbursement)

Day 10 (so far) - Gas ($26 - when did gas drop back down under $2??); No other spending anticipated. I did have to resist the urge to get breakfast, and we have plenty for lunch and dinner.

A third of the way through, and overall, I'm pretty pleased. I haven't done much in the way of trying to actually reduce current spending levels other than extraneous spending. But I haven't eaten out at all, even with 2 gift cards and other money coming in. I'm hoping to continue this trend.

On a separate note, if DH's first 2 paychecks are any indication, he's tracking to bring in over double what his civilian job does. We're still in stabilizing mode, but once I know what it'll be on the regular, it'll be easier to map out some concrete plans.

UFMC Day 7

January 8th, 2019 at 07:31 am

No extra spending (Edit - no spending at all, not even bills). It was a hard day, and I was super tempted to spend my $50 gift card on Five Guys since I didn't need the shelf anymore, but I resisted. I had a stew in the crockpot and really need to get back to eating veggies, so I stuck with that. It actually was pretty good, so no real regrets.

Today may be no spend. I'm starting to run low on gas and may need it for errands later. I have to get my mom from the airport and then we're having combined family dinner (DH's and my immediate families minus DH and FIL). I'm glad that I'm able to stay close to my in-laws during this difficult time.

We have enough stew to last for lunches for me for the rest of the week and probably also a dinner or two more. Otherwise, we have a meal plan written up and plenty of other food options. I think that for next weekend, I may try to focus solely on using up things we have and minimize or eliminate the weekly shop.

Insurance Update and Other Things

January 7th, 2019 at 05:33 am

I spent another 2 hours on the phone Friday morning. I asked to speak with someone above who I was talking to, and the guy I was directed to was the most helpful person I'd encountered in the whole process. He resolved my issue, got my necessary referrals in place, and processed refunds for the other copays that I'd already paid.

I followed up, and it looks like my issue isn't totally resolved. Turns out the referral that I can see as approved is the later date and not the original backdated date that I need. However, at least now I know that it can be fixed, and my PCM was supposedly backdated to that date, so I shouldn't have too much trouble getting the correct referral. Friday night was the first quality sleep that I've gotten in a long time. I'm still on the fence as to whether to file a grievance because they shouldn't make things this complicated for a family already losing a family member, much less one in the middle of a high-risk pregnancy, but in the same vein, I have much more important things to focus on and should probably just let it go now that it's (mostly) fixed.

Over the weekend, I made two new to-do lists: one of all the nesting projects that I'd like to get done and one of a weekly routine that I'd like to get in to. I made the schedule on Sunday and completed Sunday's tasks which included meal prep for the week, light cleaning, and brushing out all animals.

I felt really accomplished despite being in a lot of pain at the end of the day. I'm hoping that things will continue settling down, and I'll be able to focus more on self-care.

UFMC Days 3-6

January 7th, 2019 at 05:23 am

Day 3: No eating out or extraneous spending. $250 Debt Payment (Amazon CC Christmas spending - all budgeted); $50 Daycare Deposit (We're hoping to avoid daycare, but I paid the application fee to get on the waitlist at a good daycare that 2 of my friends work at and a third sends her son to. Technically, I paid the fee at the end of last year, and it just hit on Wednesday.); Mortgage Payment

Day 4: No eating out or extraneous spending. $150 Debt Payment (The other half of the Amazon CC payment.)

Day 5: No eating out or extraneous spending. Money in: My normal paycheck.

Day 6: Weekly grocery shop - $57.26 to groceries and $15 to household (I did break Frugalwoods' 72-hour rule here by buying labels and a flag impulsively. Our old flag was really torn up and with DH deployed, I felt it was important to have one flying. The labels were for the closet reorganization that is currently happening. Her rule did save me about $50 though. I have an expandable shelf in my Amazon cart for DH's closet, but after labeling containers and rearranging in my closet, I cleared up an entire shelf for DH's work pants and shirts to go next to his socks.)

Insurance Woes

January 3rd, 2019 at 06:56 am

I'd typed out a giant rant post explaining all of the issues around insurance, but deleted it. The short version is that we've been dealing with this for about a month now. We'd thought we'd gotten to a resolution several times only to find some new thing messed up. As of yesterday, we were once again dropped from insurance effective 12/30 with no notification. As of this morning, it's been handled and we still have one likely impossible hurdle resulting in about a month and a half's OB visits not being covered due to the way these systems are set up.

UFMC Days 1&2

January 3rd, 2019 at 06:38 am

This may be more of a weekly thing, but I'm going to informally try this.

Day 1 was a no spend day.

Day 2 spending included the following: Electric ($367.71 - this is actually two months' bills. I completely missed a payment in all of the craziness, so I just caught it all up); Debt ($264.35 - 2 credit card bills. I forget about the Lowe's CC because it's a set $210 every month. The remaining payment is the balance transfer at 0 %.); Eating Out ($15.70+tip; yesterday was an insanely stressful day and also DH's birthday. By the end of it all, I decided to let him order dinner on our account for a nicer birthday meal than the dining hall. That decision was made before I decided to actually commit to the UFMC, and due in part to the next line.)

Money in on day 2: $85.68 overpayment check and $50 birthday gift card.

DH's parents also took me out to celebrate my and DH's birthdays, so I got a free meal. Afterwards, we played jackbox (a fun online pack of mini games that lets players play from their phones) with DH.

Today should be no spend. I packed breakfast, have leftover lunch from yesterday, and don't have any commitments this evening other than destressing from yesterday. I have about half a tank of gas left, so I'll need some next week.

I also have some car maintenance things that need to be done this month, so there'll be spending for that (hence, the informal attempt at the UFMC). Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything else we really need to spend on this month, but with things still getting ironed out, I make no promises.

2018 Financial Wins and Fails

January 1st, 2019 at 09:15 am

Par for the (recent) course, I'm a day late. But here are my 2018 financial wins and fails. For ease, I've picked my 3 biggest of each after looking back at the year.

Financial Wins:
1) YNAB - I cannot even begin to describe how eye-opening it's been since YNAB has finally clicked. It took several tries, but last March, it finally stuck. It's enabled us to save for several goals, build our bank account to its largest ever balance, and meet financial win #2.

2) Debt Payoff - We've managed to pay off the following debts: Wells Fargo loan, NFL Points CC, Ashley Furniture CC, BOA CC. I also transferred the Capital One CC to a 0% interest card. Right now,the only remaining CCs accruing interest are Navy Federal and Chase Freedom. We also use Target, Amazon Rewards, and Chase Marriott CCs on occasion and pay those off so no interest accrues. I'm hoping to take this momentum into 2019 with several more debts paid off.

3) The last win is that our BEF has remained untouched for almost a year (knock on all the wood!). We've had the $1000 BEF in the past and always raided it as soon as we found ourselves short. With YNAB, we've been able to budget for big expenses and cash flow minor issues, so we haven't had to touch it at all.

Financial Fails:
1) Leaks Galore - I keep an idiot tax category in YNAB to see how much money we've wasted on late fees and things that could have been avoided. Some of my worst offenders are not using up all FSA funds properly, not looking in to internet renewals and missing some incredible incentives, and not paying our property taxes on time even though the money was actually there for once (I knew it was due in October, but thought it was later in the month rather than the 5th, costing me an extra $75 in late fees).

2) Additional Debt - I did have to take out a 401k loan right at the end of the year. I had hoped to be done with debt, but this particular instance gave me the mental fortitude to finally be done with my mom (which is a win in and of itself).

3) Stress Spending - I still struggle with keeping incidentals under control when I'm stressed (which was a lot of last year). I resort to fast food when I feel too overwhelmed to worry about food. And I turn to spending to make myself feel better when I'm down. I hope to be stronger in 2019 and find healthier outlets for my stress.

(Very) Tentative Planning

December 27th, 2018 at 05:34 am

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas. I was managing fairly well until I went to sit at the table and couldn't decide whether to sit at the head of the table (DH's normal spot) or leave his chair open and sit next to it. Once the floodgates opened, it was difficult to stop. DH was able to sort of participate though. He was off, so he Skyped in and watched us open gifts. We were able to broadcast him up on our TV and get all 8 of us into the camera view for him to see everything. My MIL also does small prize bags, but she forgot games this year. So we had DH host Christmas trivia. In all, it turned out okay, but certainly didn't feel as happy as a normal Christmas. FIL and I did bond over how much we miss him though.

In regards to the planning, DH got his first pay statement. He said future ones may be a little less, but we're not entirely sure since he was still charged life insurance, and overseas should have some additional pay things in there. I was expecting around 3k/mo (his civilian job brings home 2k). It looks like it is more likely going to be 3.5-4k.

I've made a list of 2019 goals and think we can hit most (if not all of them):

Debt Payoff - 6 debts in the following order: NavyFed Loan ($975), Chase Slate CC ($1044), Dept of Ed Student Loan 3 ($1490), Chase Freedom CC ($3060), Chase Marriott ($1890), UAS Student Loan ($2540); NOTE: There's no real rhyme or reason to these other than some are my highest interest debts and others are low-hanging fruit to free up monthly cash flow and feel like I'm making progress. I anticipate paying the NavyFed loan off in Jan to free up the $200 monthly payment, but all other debt payoffs will wait until after baby is born, so we can stockpile money. It'll be assigned to the right categories in YNAB, but I'll be holding on to all the cash until we know things are okay.

Savings Goals - These are a little more fluid. I will definitely put aside money to the first 3. The others are projects that I hope we can at least start to save up for: EF (Currently at $1000, would like to add $300/mo to start building it up. We will also have a one-month buffer in place starting in Jan.); Car Replacement ($500/mo); Disney Trip ($500/mo); Fireplace (Need $800); Backyard Landscaping (Need $2k); Hot Tub Repair (Need $650)

Even though I hate being apart, I'm hoping to make it count and make some real progress towards more stable financial footings.

In the first few days of the new year, I'm going to fresh start YNAB zeroing out all categories and living off last month's income (which will actually be pretty meager since DH wasn't getting paychecks). I'll lay out all remaining debts and a full financial picture.

Starting to reset early

December 21st, 2018 at 06:46 am

I'm going to try and take some small steps over the next few weeks to get a jump start on our reset year.

Here's the high-level view of what we're looking at with more detailed numbers and plans over the next few weeks as the dust settles.

High-risk pregnancy: Things are going well here. I'm seen every 2 weeks and despite the complete disregard for self-care as of late, baby is thriving. (Side note: the disregard certainly isn't intentional...I just don't sleep well, have severe veggie aversions, and forget to drink water since I'm constantly on the move.) I'm trying really hard to just accept things as they come and not stress.

Deployment: I think we've finally got things in a semi-decent place. I have 3 or 4 things to follow up on over the next month or two. Additionally, I recently found out about SCRA benefits, so I'm looking into those to see if we can take advantage of lower interest rates on some things to maximize this year. Unfortunately, I didn't add my husband to most of my debt and even on most credit cards, he's just an authorized user rather a joint owner, so I'm not sure that we'll actually be able to utilize them.

Pest Problems: There wasn't 100% confirmation, but we're about 80% sure we have termites. We've had some holes pop up in the hardwood. Our pest control guy was stumped because there's no evidence of them other than the empty holes. He thinks it's likely they came in through the front step, are relatively new, and have only been working on that one beam. We went ahead and treated since it's recommended to be done every 5 years. We've been in the house for just over 2, and this is the first we've seen of them.

Mom Issues: This one is complicated, but the end of the story is that I took a 401k loan to give her $4000 to try and get herself straightened out once and for all. I've said that I've been done in the past, but never truly felt the conviction that I felt this time. Both my husband and I put several restrictions in place before she got the money. We also don't expect to see it back even though she says she will pay it. But we both made it very clear that this was it. Part of the restrictions included my older brother getting a job and me having full visibility in to her finances to see if this would actually help her. It's pathetic that I have to treat her like a child, but I sat with her and laid out a budget moving forward. I had planned to babysit her and make sure she stuck to it, but I decided it's not worth my time and energy. I gave her all the resources she needs to fix it, and if she fails again, tough nuggets. I have more important things to worry about.

It's incredible that I'm still going

December 20th, 2018 at 11:22 am

After several weeks of sheer madness and an average of 4-6 hours of sleep a night, I'm still going. To say the least, things have been a whirlwind. I feel like I'm finally starting to catch my breath. My plan is to start the new year by laying everything out again with what has happened these last few weeks and my goals for next year.

I also want to do the UFM challenge, but haven't decided whether my sanity will allow me to commit to it.

Just a smidgeon of what we have been dealing with: high-risk pregnancy, DH's year-long deployment (which came with a whole slew of admin issues that I'm told don't normally occur), pest problems (totaling a lovely $1600 on top of everything else), and of course, mom issues.

With everything we're dealing with, I plan to make 2019 our reset year. Wish me luck.