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Archive for January, 2019

UFMC Days 25-28

January 29th, 2019 at 01:57 pm

All standard monthly payments except for Home Depot. We got some lightbulbs, paint for the nursery, and a big storage box for DH's Army gear. We've been meaning to organize our big storage closet in the basement, and I finally went ahead and got him this storage box. I was thinking it'd be a few hundred bucks from the way he kept talking about it, but it was only $50.

The money in is the first of 3 or 4 refunds for health insurance premiums. In the midst of the whole insurance debacle, we were still paying all of our normal premiums. So once it all got worked out, I asked about refunding those payments (this was mid-December). They kicked off the process and told me it'd be 30-45 days. So I followed up a week or so ago when I had to call for something else anyways, only to find out it had gotten hung up. They were able to get it worked out, so we should have about $780 coming back in various payments over the next few weeks.

What I'm struggling with is YNAB. It's going back into Health Insurance. However, I'm using those refunds to just pay down the CC balance (we now pay it in full, but we ride the float, so we accumulate more as we pay it). There's no option to assign it to the credit card, but moving the money from Health Insurance to the card increases the payment available which isn't accurate since the money's already on it. If anyone has any thoughts for handling it, I'd be open to suggestions.

Day 25: NSD

Day 26: Hulu ($5.99); Home Depot ($105.23)

Day 27: Money In - Health Insurance Premium Refund ($162.35)

Day 28: Verizon ($84.99); Car Payment ($401.59)

Productive Weekend

January 28th, 2019 at 05:25 pm

My in-laws came over this weekend to help with some of the projects. My FIL got the whole nursery painted and my MIL helped me clean out and organize two of the rooms in the basement. They both look worlds better, but still need a bit additional work. Next up should be the hardwoods in the nursery and guest room. I'm eternally grateful to have a FIL who happens to be a house contractor.

Bonus: he ordered us pizza while here, so I didn't have to cook!

There was some other spending, but I need to organize before posting the UFMC days.

UFMC Days 22-24

January 25th, 2019 at 01:35 pm

I caved a bit this week on the eating out, but tried to keep it reasonable.

Day 22: Cinnamon Roll ($2.43); Pest Proof - 2nd termite payment ($870.53); CC Payment ($144.48); Boxed ($54.16 for groceries); Gas ($24.95)

Day 23: $5.18 (Burger King); CC Payment ($140.52); Mom Loan Payment ($207.33); Dog License Renewal ($10); Walmart ($54.83 for groceries)

Day 24: Student Loan Payment ($169.70); CC Payment (124.15)

Today's anticipated spending is 1 scrambled egg at the cafe at work.

The two grocery shops should get us through the end of the month. I did go slightly over the grocery budget by $33.33 (budgeted $150). However, that includes about $18 worth of Ibotta rebates. For anyone using YNAB, do you all put rebates like that back into the category?

UFMC Days 15-21

January 22nd, 2019 at 05:35 pm

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 06:18 pm

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 05:20 pm

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 01:00 pm

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 03:31 pm

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 01:33 pm

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 01:23 pm

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 02:56 pm

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 02:38 pm

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 05:15 pm

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.