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An extra payment

June 25th, 2019 at 05:03 am

My little brother made a payment yesterday. He's supposed to pay $465/mo, but he doesn't really even stay at the house anymore, so I haven't bothered with it. He paid $750, which I thought was great and set up a payment automatically to the Freedom card. Come to find out, he's charged about $500 to the card, so that pretty much cancels it out. When I took the card back and told him that, he did offer to make another payment Thursday, so we'll see what comes of that.

The first payment should take the card down to $1300, so hopefully he pays enough to get it under a grand. Then I'd definitely just bite the bullet and pay it off in July.

$933.35

June 21st, 2019 at 05:47 am

That's how much was budgeted to credit card payments this month in YNAB. That's not including new card purchases and interest (which are both budgeted for in other categories). In order to pay off the three credit cards that I'd like to, I need to budget $566.47 plus one more credit card that we're just paying the minimums on for now (it varies, but about $175). That's definitely doable. I can't wait to free up that amount.

We have had more money in our bank account since truly getting on board with YNAB than we've had for years. It's close to 2 months expenses when you count sinking funds and the month ahead. I'm actually very tempted to move some money around and at least pay off the interest bearing credit card which is about $1500. That would still leave $7500 in our main account which is about a month and a half of expenses. If I take the life insurance and Christmas sinking funds, that gives me $800 plus the estimated $700 surplus next month, I can get rid of it in July. That's very tempting...

Posted 2 days in a row!

June 19th, 2019 at 10:46 am

I think I had mentioned wanting to try and pay off one of the transfer balances this month. Well, I sent in the payment 2 days ago, so the Chase Slate CC is back to $0. I also set up YNAB goals to keep me on track. Once I have a better idea of the money coming in each month, I should be able to come up with some concrete projections.

Refocusing on finances

June 18th, 2019 at 09:49 am

I finally got a chance to look at my budget spreadsheet and catch up and reprioritize. I've set a number of goals that I am reasonably sure are attainable by the end of the year. I ended up getting a 5% raise which is wonderful considering I was on maternity leave during the review process, so I thought that may influence their decision. Between that and the extra money coming in while DH is deployed, here's what I'd like to accomplish:

Debt Payoff:
1) Chase Freedom CC ($1500) - This was the credit card that my family was all approved users on. While it rarely gets used, there was about a $3k balance that was going down very slowly due to interest. I transferred half to other credit card offers and aim to pay off the remaining balance this year.
2) Chase Marriot CC ($512) - This is our everyday credit card. I'm not paying interest since we're on the float, but I'd like to get it all the way down to $0 and then continue using it for everyday spending.
3) BOA CC ($1100) - This was a 0% transfer for part of the Freedom balance. It expires 2/2020, so I'd like to have it paid off by Dec for peace of mind.
4) UAS Connect Student Loan ($1600) - This was originally a $16000 student loan. It took me a decade, but I can't wait to have it gone. It's one of the lower interest rates, but a $170/monthly payment, so it'll free up a fair amount of cash.

Savings: We're working on 2 savings goals, but I think I'm just going to focus on the first one.
1) SAHD Fund ($4500): Rather than a large 30th birthday Disney extravaganza, DH decided he really wanted to take the 3 months that the military allows before having to return to his civilian job to be a SAHD. This will help us avoid daycare for the first year and give DH some much needed bonding time with our son. On a bare bones budget, we'll need $1500/month on top of my paychecks. I'd ideally like to have $6k, but realistically, I think we're going to be lucky to hit the $4500. There's currently $750 in the account.
2) Car Fund ($???): I had wanted to save $10k to this, but I just don't see that happening. There's currently only $1500 in the account. We will need a second car when DH returns since I gave my old car to my brother (it's a coupe and wouldn't fit a car seat). The original plan was for me to get a used SUV-type vehicle, and I was hoping to pay cash, so we wouldn't have a second car payment. I'm not sure what will happen with this goal. I'd really like to avoid taking on more debt, but it may be unavoidable. If I can get to $5k and can convince my husband, we may be able to buy a bridge beater type car that we know won't last more than a year or 2 while we save more, but I don't know that I want to risk the breakdowns/my son's safety. I could potentially take my car back and just use my husband's for trips involving the baby, but we had planned for him to have the car to commute for childcare when we're both back at work, and he moves back home.

Trying

June 14th, 2019 at 05:06 am

I feel like my life is a series of trying lately. Trying to keep up with housework. Trying to teach my son new skills. Trying to give the pets attention. Trying to adjust back at work. Trying to relax. Trying, trying, trying...

It's a wonderfully difficult adjustment.

Financially, I paid off the Navy Fed loan that I had taken to help my mom several years ago (which I think I had mentioned). I'm also budgeted to pay off a 0% interest balance transfer to one of my credit cards this month. We still have student loans, a car payment, and 5 credit cards with balances (1 is a 0% interest transfer and another doesn't have interest since we're on the float). I'm hoping to have 3 more of those paid off by the end of the year. So far this month, I've been better about eating out. I'm trying to be more conscious of my diet in general, so that somewhat helps to temper the temptation.

Back at work (and other goings-on)

May 30th, 2019 at 05:38 am

Today is my first day back in the office. I started work on Tuesday and have worked out an in-office/telecommuting schedule with my company. My brother (the one who hasn't worked in years) will watch the baby while I work. I give him a small monthly payment in addition to him living with us. Plus, he has a part-time position working security at a concert venue. It works out since it's mostly nights and weekends.

Financially, we've had both successes and failures these past few months. Some of the wins include paying off the personal loan that I'd taken out to help my mom and transferring part of my remaining cc debt to an interest-free card. I now have 2 credit cards with small interest-free balances that I set aside the appropriate amount to have paid off in time (one should actually finish next month). Additionally, we've been saving a bit towards the new car and DH's goal. I'd been planning a 30th birthday Disney extravaganza to see the new Star Wars land and have some much needed together time with just us. However, once our son arrived, it really hit DH hard how much he was missing, so he asked if he could instead take advantage of the 90 day grace period that the military provides upon deployment return and be a stay-at-home dad for a bit. Long-term, we definitely need both incomes, but if we forgo the trip, we could get by with mine. So far, we have $1600 set aside to put towards the car and $600 set aside for DH's leave. I don't really have concrete goals for these, but I'm thinking that I should set numbers to help me stay on track. One last big win is that other than 2-3 newborn packs, I have yet to buy diapers and don't foresee the need for a bit. DS is now in size 1's, and we still have 2 packs of those. By the time they're gone (and maybe earlier), he'll be in 2's. We already had 2 boxes of those, and my friend just gave me another box of them as well.

In the financial failures category, the big one is eating out. In May alone, I spent $230 eating out. While my son is fairly easy, I'm struggling with accepting that I can no longer do things on my own time. I don't need much sleep, but the fact that I can't go to bed whenever I choose bothers me. I've always turned to food for comfort, so whenever I'm running an errand or feeling overwhelmed, I go for the easy solution with the rationalization that I should 'treat myself' for handling this 'single' mom thing like a champ. I think the mentality is reasonable, but I definitely need to limit it. My goal is to set a $100 budget for June and stick to it at all costs! The other failures include owing for taxes and not saving as much towards our goals as I'd like.

I am super grateful that despite the lack of saved funds, we made it through my leave without much of a hit.

Finding a new normal

April 8th, 2019 at 04:08 pm

Baby boy D arrived 3 weeks early on March 26. It's been a process to adjust, but we're so happy that he's with us. Everything went about as smoothly as it could. Due to potential complications, my husband was brought home, and I was induced. 7.5 hours later, our son was here. I'm recovering well, the baby's healthy, and my husband got to spend some time with his son.

I'll hopefully get back to the financial side of things in the coming weeks as things normalize.

Just popping in

March 19th, 2019 at 11:02 am

Life has been insanely busy. My family and friends threw me a surprise shower, the nursery is just about finished, and tomorrow is my last day in the office. I was supposed to stop driving a few weeks ago due to my size and belly positioning, but pushed it to term because we have a new person that I'm training.

Financially, thanks to the surprise shower and my work shower, we only have a little left on our 'buy' list. I also have about 35 meals in the freezer, so groceries should be minimal as well. I need to file our taxes too and check the calculations on this year's. I transferred a small amount of my bigger interest-bearing cc to a 0% interest card and have set up a YNAB goal to pay that before interest starts. The other interest-bearing card had its rate dropped to 6% due to SCRA, so I'm still paying the full balance and just having more of it work in my favor.

DH and I are doing well despite the distance. I wish he were here, but we've been lucky enough to be able to keep in touch almost daily.

Just a few more weeks left. I'm cautiously excited, but also not getting my hopes up.

Every other week and a minor car accident

February 12th, 2019 at 08:52 am

So, it looks like the busy weeks are every other week. This week, there's nothing on my calendar, so I'm looking forward to plenty of relaxation and rest.

Yesterday, I was involved in a very minor car accident. I'm still not entirely sure what happened, but the best I can tell is that I switched into a right hand lane on a pretty busy 3-lane street and a car turning into the right-hand lane didn't notice me switch and turned into the back of my car. It seems like they realized it mid-turn and tried to avoid me because they were halfway up on the curb when I felt the impact and saw them in my passenger mirror. I think if they were actually in my blind spot, and I had merged into them, a few things would have happened differently: 1) the car would have much more damage as the speed on that road is 45-55 2) they would have honked before I came over or after and 3) (most importantly) they would have stopped. I pulled over at the next turnoff and they drove right on past. Fortunately, I'm completely fine, baby movements are normal, and the car has zero damage.

Taxes, Baby Savings, and Exhaustion

February 8th, 2019 at 05:31 am

I did most of my taxes. I'm missing a few forms, so I haven't been able to file yet, but I'm not in a rush because for the first time in years (if ever)...

I owe money - about $680. At one point, it was $3k, so I'm not too vexed about the amount. I was hoping to get a refund to beef up my maternity leave fund, but ah well.

Even though we haven't started saving towards that, I think we're actually completely fine. We're now living on last month's income. Plus, DH will continue getting paychecks, and I'll have STD at 60% of my regular pay. His bigger paychecks more than cover the remaining 40%, and I'll have PTO saved up if I really want to extend my leave past the 6 weeks that I get of STD. Right now, I'm leaning towards 8 weeks (provided it's not a c-section). I want to keep some of my FMLA for the end of the year, and take another month/2 month-long break when DH gets back, so we can bond as a family.

The exhaustion is really setting in. I think it's just a matter of trying to do too much and not giving myself proper breaks. I haven't turned my TV on in about a week which is absolutely unheard of for me! Tonight, I don't have anything planned, but tomorrow is brunch with some friends. Sunday is an all day project with FIL doing the hardwoods, and MIL and I sorting, washing, and organizing clothes, packing the hospital bag, and whatever other small projects.

Small Money Trickling In

February 5th, 2019 at 04:41 am

I cashed out my Ibotta account for $35 and got a statement credit on one of my credit cards for $20. That particular credit card is one that I don't use. My mom and brothers were all authorized users on it, and I've slowly taken everyone's away except for my mom's. The last stand help (what I've started calling this final time) should wrap up this month, and we'll be getting her card back too. There's a 3k balance on that card, and it's one of 3 cards remaining that are accruing interest at the highest rate, so I'm trying to get that balance down to something reasonable, so I can transfer it and be done.

OAMC and another big expense

February 4th, 2019 at 05:11 am

I haven't done a 'once a month cooking' session in a long time. I want to do a month-long plan next month, but I did a 2-week plan this past weekend. I spent about $320 of our $400 monthly grocery budget, so it's definitely not the most cost efficient, but considering how much less I'll eat out with food in the freezer, it's worth it. When we had previously done these plans, it's worked out really well.

I did the 2-week plan that I'm somewhat familiar with. DH's best friend came over to help, and together we did all the meals but 6. The last ones were beef/turkey/steak meals, so definitely faster than all the chicken ones. I can definitely tell the pregnancy is wearing on me because I was in a lot of pain by the end of the day. After he left, I went ahead and knocked out 3 more meals. I have 3 left to do this evening including the one planned for tonight's dinner (meatball sub cassserole). All told, this plan will likely last a month because I split a lot of the 4 person meals into 2 since my brother isn't the biggest leftover person.

As for the big expense, with the baby on the way, I decided that I wanted to change the carpet in the nursery and guest room to hardwood. We expected it to be between $1500 and $2000 for the materials (based on Home Depot estimates), and my wonderful FIL would do the actual work. He found us a similar style flooring at Lumber Liquidators for $1450, and since the manager is a good friend of his, he gave us an additional small military discount. So this weekend, I wrote a check for $1390 to FIL to pick up all the materials and then work should start this weekend. Once the flooring is done, the nursery will be ready for set up and decoration! We are redoing the flooring in the guest room and also installed overhead lighting/fan, but we decided not to paint that room for now since it will eventually become the baby's big kid room and they'll likely want to choose their paint/theme/decor. I do feel incredibly lucky that we're able to write a $1400 check without batting an eye or worrying about it.

On a separate, but related note, when we were doing groceries, my mom was shocked that I wasn't being overly stringent with the amount things cost. She was shocked when I purchased 2 $20 packs of the chicken breasts from Costco because the cost per pound was $2.39 which she thought I could beat elsewhere. She's probably right, but I needed 24 and was already at Costco which I told her. It really struck me how far I've come when she said that it must be nice to buy groceries without worrying about the bill. While I still have an incredibly long journey ahead of me, it made me realize that we have made great strides and just need to stay the course to continue moving forward.

UFMC Wrap Up

February 1st, 2019 at 04:50 am

I slipped up these last few days with the eating out and game purchase. I also used a gift card that had some money left to support my half sister by buying Girl Scout cookies. Overall, I was incredibly pleased that we started February with almost $6k ready to be budgeted. It's not last month's income since I did pull some for our bigger bills (namely the car and termite payments), but it's more than enough to cover our expenses for the month.

One thing that I was hoping to be able to do, but couldn't was pay off the loan I had taken for my mom. It has about $700 left on it. While I technically could pay it off, it would mean clearing out some of our savings categories which I don't want to do. Whatever DH doesn't spend of his allowance will go towards it this month.

Day 29: Amazon ($25.48 for cleaning supplies); Money In - Healthcare Premium Refunds ($656.76)

Day 30: Panera Bread ($32)

Day 31: Amazon ($4.99 for game coins);
Money In - Dividends ($1.97); Mom Payment ($25)