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Sometimes you eat the Behr, sometimes the Behr eats you

July 6th, 2009 at 08:09 am

Couldn't resist the title. DW and I have been planning on painting our bedroom for a year now. We went to Home Depot about a year ago and picked out a bunch of colors and taped them to the wall, then each day we would vote on one color to remove. Eventually we were left with one color, and that swatch has been sitting there lonely on the wall ever since. Well, no more. We decided that for our anniversary (14 is the latex paint anniversary, right?) we would treat ourselves to a new wall color.

So we sent the boys to the grandparents for the weekend, and I went to Home Depot to get paint Friday morning. I've never had such a good experience. I had two guys waiting on me, and was in and out of there in 20 minutes. They told me that Behr was running a sale, and gave me the rebate form. I was going to get Kilz for the primer (since our mobile home has that wallpaper/wallboard) and then the $20 a gallon Behr. But they said that the $30 a gallon Behr has primer in it, so I bought that instead, and saved on not buying the $15 a gallon Kilz. (spent an extra $10 to save $15). Plus I got a rebate for $5 off each gallon, so I saved $20 total.

We also decided to go out for our anniversary dinner at lunch instead, so that we could get back home & finish painting, so we probably saved another $20-$25 on that.

Our room looks as good as new now, all for $40 in paint!

Productive weekend

June 1st, 2009 at 10:04 am

So, as planned, we spent less than $110 on food this weekend, so I was able to transfer that amount out of the food envelope and into the debt reduction envelope. We also received our water bill, and it was for $3.61 less than budgeted, so I just send a payment off to Kroger for $113.61.

Today I'm going to put a bunch of stuff up on ebay for sale, as well as some cd's and dvd's on secondspin.

I'm trying to get into the habit of making payments to the credit card each time I have extra money, no matter how small. And why not? Unless they start charging for small payments, there's no reason not to do it.

Hidden Treasure

May 28th, 2009 at 11:31 am

I found something interesting today. I was updating my financial software (I use Money Matters from Crown Ministries, founded by the late Larry Burkett) and I discovered some extra money in the auto insurance envelope. As it turns out, through a quirk in my policy auto-renewal, I didn't have any money taken out for April, yet my policy is current, and there was a payment for May. So, there's an extra $104.15 that will get sent straight away to the Kroger card...as soon as I get paid on tomorrow. It's funny, but there's always a difference between the money I have on paper (or on screen) and the money in my account.

I also had two more sources of found money today. The electricity bill came in, and is for $8 less than last month, which is odd since I'm on the "levelized" billing plan. Apparently "level" is a relative term. I also had two more "bank verification" deposits made today totalling $.72.

So all told I have an extra $112.87 that came my way today, out of the blue! Add to that the $110 that I'll be savings from the Kroger checks and coupons this weekend, and I'll be able to get the Kroger card down below $4000 by early next week!

Slow and steady wins the race...hopefully

May 26th, 2009 at 01:13 pm

About two years ago I had whittled our credit card debt down to less than $1000, and was on the way to being free. Now...not so much. Through a series of unfortunate dental events, home repair needs and outright reckless spending, it's skyrocketted to just over $10,000.

I have two credit cards right now. One is our Kroger card (grocery store). We use it for all purchases, and get money back every quarter for grocery purchases. Originally, I only used it for things that I would normally use my debit card for, and was transferring the money each day from the checking to an online savings account, and then back to checking once a month to pay the card off in full. That was the plan, and it worked for several years.

Then, I'm not sure what happened. But I put some things on there that weren't normal monthly charges. And a few more. Now I have about $2300 extra that I'm carrying on the card, and no longer can pay off the balance every month.

As for the other card, it's a Bank of America card, and it is the repository of all my other credit card debt, condensed into one card, enjoying a 0% interest period that expires next month. I've got right at $9000 on it. What I had been doing for the last few years was taking any credit card debt I had and transferring it to a new card with a 0% interest promotion, and stashing it there to wait while I worked on other debts that had higher interests. At the end of each promotion, I would apply for a new card, transfer the balance, and close down the previous account. I was also using this as my emergency fund. Well, emergencies came, and the card filled up (or close to it), and I don't think I'll be able to get another card with that high an initial opening balance with a 0% interest. I'm sure I could get one, but it would probably be for only $2000 - $3000, and I'd have to split the balance up. I may end up having to do this anyway.

But, I've prioritized recently. Before I can do anything about the BoA card and its balance, I need to get the Kroger card back to a balance that I can pay off every month. It's still worth it to use the card. It has a point system, but rewards you most for shopping at Kroger and buying Kroger brands, which we do anyway. And we get $60-$80 in Kroger checks every 3 months.

So, taking a page from the Tortoise and the Hare, I've decided to take the "slow and steady wins the race" approach to paying it off. I will never pay it off if I wait until I've got lump sums at the end of the month. I need to just chip away at it, paying little bits every time I have them. Even if it's just $1 a day, every little bit helps. Because the compound interest is just going to keep accruing.

So my goal, and my blog's plot, will be to discover those little ways to find money, and then immediately send that money to pay on the Kroger card. And track how I'm doing. With each amount paid, my overall time-to-payoff will go down, as will my overall estimated interest paid. I hope I can crunch the numbers enough to tell the tale.

So, I start today. Or yesterday, rather. I average aboout $1500 a month in total monthly charges, things that I pay every month, within the budget. My balance as of yesterday was $4398.71. But, I then cancelled XM radio, for several reasons. And had a refund of $18.78, so my balance today is $4379.93. Only $2879.93 more to go...