Thursday, June 30, 2011

End of month - Bleh

So it's the end of the month and time for the end-of-the-month report. Except that I don't want to because it's just not good.

We didn't save any money.

We didn't send Discover any snowflakes.

We went over on the grocery budget goal by $79.75.

We added to our debt - not much, but enough.

I'm going to wait awhile - maybe until the end of July to tally the numbers and see how it all shakes out. By then, I doubt it will show our total debt up, but it won't have gone down much either. And I'm really itching to get to that $10,000 mark of debt paid this year!

Medical costs hit hard in the past month, helping to knock us off track. And we are looking at some major equipment purchases shortly. We're saying lots of prayers that insurance will find them necessary and our out of pocket won't be astronomical.

But I'm not going to give up. And I'm not going to whine. I'm just going to focus on moving forward. And I think I'll just live vicariously through Eboo, who has seriously good news this month!

Sarah

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It pays to check the bill

I'm still unpacking from our trip and I came across the hotel bill this morning. It was slid under the door on our departure day and DH just picked it up and dropped it in the suitcase. When I finally looked at it, I realized that the room rate was not right. My stomach fell, because I was worried that what's done might be done and I might be out of luck.

But I called anyway. Turns out the person at the front desk had put an extra adult in each of our two rooms - and with that came a $25 charge per room per day. That was a whopping $200 mistakenly added to our bill! And if I hadn't looked, we would have paid it. Thankfully, the hotel immediately took the charge off (well, he said he would - I'm going to have to keep watch on that, too).

Sure am glad I looked at that bill.

Sarah

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back on the wagon

It's been a busy week around here. Jenny's daughter got married and we are back from the medical conference in Florida. Both events were a huge success, but our respective budgets took huge hits.

It's a new day, however, and soon to be a new month. Time to get back on track. It's good to be home.

Sarah

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A penny saved, a penny earned

I happened to log into my new ING checking account this morning, and guess what? That $50 bonus that is what got me to sign up for the account in the first place? It was right there sitting in my account, just waiting to surprise me!

Two good news days in a row - I can barely stand it!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Sarah

Friday, June 17, 2011

Woo hoo!

The car insurance renewal notice arrived in the mail yesterday - generally not a cause for celebration. But I opened it anyway, and my annual premium dropped $217.56!

I love it when there's good news in the mail!

Sarah

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A change of scenery always helps

I'm back! Really, I've been back since Monday, but I've been going at mach speed and haven't found time to post.

Our 2-day trip to the beach was fabulous. I went with some trepidation - wondering if it was the right thing to do even though it wasn't going to cost much at all. But once I smelled that salt air and had sand between my toes, life just looked sunnier again. As an unexpected bonus, my Dad took our van out on Sunday afternoon and while he was gone he filled up the tank! So the total cost of our trip turned out to be a single tank of gas. Not bad for some much needed R&R.

Yesterday, I rolled coins to use on our trip to the Florida medical conference. The grand total was $43. Every little bit helps. This post sounds like all we do is travel but in reality, we haven't gone on a family trip in ages. (That's one of the things I dream about doing a lot of when we rid ourselves of the debt.)

I hope everyone is having a fantabulous day!

Sarah

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beach bound!

Today is the day we leave for our mini-vacation at the beach with my parents. We're pretty excited about getting out of town and doing nothing more strenuous than spreading out a towel on the sand.

I had a moment of panic, yesterday, though, as I was paying bills and watching the paycheck evaporate at an alarming rate. I started to think we were crazy, even though this trip will only cost us the gas to get there. But I calmed down and realized our food budget should be substantially less this month while we are out of town. My folks will feed us this weekend and most meals at the Florida conference are taken care of.

I rationalized. Isn't that what we do when the numbers are perilously close to not adding up? Oh, for the day when the numbers work.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Sarah

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Daydreaming

The title of a post by babybluewater got me thinking: "What will the future hold?" She was talking about a potential career change, but my mind wandered to what will things be like when the debt is gone. What will I do when I have money instead of payments?

That thought seems so far-fetched, but it still makes me giddy.

What would I love to do if money were no (well, within reason) object? I think I'd like to take my daughter on a fantastically memorable trip to France and Italy. ... Then again, I'd also like to remodel my hopelessly out-of-date kitchen and bathrooms. Hmmm.

What are you hoping to do when the debt monster is beaten into submission and you have a fat savings account safely tucked away?

I may never take my daughter to Europe. And I may never have a state-of-the-art kitchen. But it's always fun to dream.

Sarah

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Paying the price for bad genes ...

Warning: This post is a rant.

A huge part of our debt is directly related to the enormous medical expenses we incur. Our youngest son was diagnosed as a baby with a genetic disorder that translates to ongoing, lifelong medical care. It also means a whole lot of equipment, each piece which comes with a four- or five-digit price tag.

I am currently paying what I can on hospital bills that we rack up with every clinic visit. Each visit is billed at more than $1,200. We visit every three to four months. Add the occasional overnight stay ... and you get the picture. We do have insurance - good insurance by industry standards. But good insurance only goes so far. I don't even include these bills in our debt list because they are ongoing and will never be at $0 - sort of like a utility bill in my mind.

Our biggest obstacle is the equipment, much of which is deemed "not medically necessary" to the insurance company. This always sends me into a tizzy because who in their right mind would go out and buy this stuff for fun??

This summer, we are facing the biggie. It's time for a new wheelchair. He requires an extremely specialized power chair that will cost north of $30,000. It's anyone's guess what the insurance company will decide is "reasonable and customary." We are currently nearing our out-of-pocket deductible, which means we wouldn't have to pay our 20% of the "reasonable and customary." What worries me is what that number will be.

It enrages me that a suit at the insurance company five states away will make the decision as to what my kid deserves.

OK, rant over. It is what it is and we'll figure it out. We always do. On a brighter note, our debt has gone down another $1,200 and we are closing in on that $10,000 mark for the year! There probably won't be much movement in the next month because of our trips to the beach and Florida, but we're still going in the right direction.

Your support has done more for my attitude than you will know. Thank you all.

Sarah

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Monthly goals check

I went 50/50 on my 2011 goals in May. This time of year, I'm finding it awfully difficult to do more than tread water financially ... but I haven't drowned yet.

1. Build and sustain an Emergency Fund of $1,000. Current balance: $80
1b. Build Dollar-A-Week Savings Plan.* Current balance: $66
FAIL - no added savings to either account

2. Aggressively pay down Discover. Current balance: $2,754.30
No extra progress - only paid minimum.

3. Reduce grocery spending.
YES! This is the area where I'm doing the best - I spent $483.16 this month on all groceries, toiletries and household products. A year ago, I would never have imagined it possible to come in under $500.

4. NO new debt.
YES! This is pretty huge, too, considering where we're coming from. The thought of new debt now seriously makes me physically ill.

One thing I'm learning through this process is that the tortoise most definitely will win this race. I won't hit every goal every time, but any progress is real progress. I am going to win!

Sarah


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jenny Update

In addition having zero time right now, I have been unable to log in for a few days. Being a technical dunce, I have no idea how that happened, but I came through the back door and found myself here :)

Briefly, I received word from the home office regarding the mortgage foreclosure prevention program that they have ALL the paperwork they need. WHEW. And since I heard from them in less than two weeks, I'm hoping the review process will be equally speedy. And that it's positive, of course!

We have another BLP in place! Only eight to go, and if we can get the 'program,' we should be able to wrap those up. Surely. Of course, we're looking at a month of no paycheck in July on top of etc., etc., etc.

Our daughter is getting married later this month, and we are preparing most of the food (not paying for most of it, just preparing)... and that includes the wedding cake. Hubby and I were out on errands last weekend and noticed that our CPA was having a little sale in front of her office. We stopped just to say hi and walked away with a variety of cake pans, including those for wedding cakes, valued at @ $75... for $7.

I am pretty sure I've found a top to wear with my Goodwill pants for the wedding! It didn't come from a thrift place (not that I haven't tried in three towns), but whatever I end up with out of what I brought home to try was on sale and can be worn again. And the shoes - 'dressy' Crocs (beach wedding) - were on sale with an additional markdown for having a coupon code!

I wish we had a Chick-Fil-A closer than 30 miles, or I would have cashed in on Sarah's tip!

Hope everyone is staying cool!!!

Jenny

PS - Learned about Man vs. Debt this morning :)