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The G.O.O.D. club (August thread) - Page 4

post #61 of 91
Thread Starter 
I understand the interest must be frustrating, but just be thankful you HAVE a mortgage. I'm starting to get really antsy about buying a place. We're hoping to be able to do this by next year when our apartment lease runs out. I'm tired of moving and tired of living in places that aren't worth putting money into to fix up the way I want.

Thanks for all the credit info, ladies. Since we're moving back to Canada, I think I'm going to skip getting my US credit report - I'll do it if we move back here again. In the meantime, I did get a free credit report (my "one a year" when we were last in Canada), some of the info was outdated, but we move around so much and things change so much....ugh. I guess I should start getting it straightened out.

Have a G.O.O.D. weekend, everyone!
post #62 of 91
Soory I forgot the hyphen in "Un-jobbing!" I had a hard time finding it at the library I remember because of that...

Good luck with everything, Piglet. I am grateful to have a mortgage and a house. So much to be thankful for. I just realized after re-reading YMOL how the norm is to have debt and it takes more radical thinking to realize that without the debt, you have more options.

Bamboogirl- thanks for the perspective! I'm thinking of how much the mortgage will go down by the end of the year. It keeps me motivated not to spend.
post #63 of 91
good debt vs. bad debt -- i agree it is all debt. I mean without any debt then there's no REQUIREMENT to work -- sure yu have to pay taxes, utilities and food, etc. but you can probably do that on a 20 hr a week kinda job. I think it gives you flexibility for the "oh no" times in your life -- death, illness, birth, etc.

piglet -- if yu can get a us credit report for free, I'd go ahead and do it now to be sure no one's stealing your name, etc. Problems would be easier to clear up now and it is probably very good anyhow.

Mortgages -- better than rent, i agree. but the interest amount is staggering.
post #64 of 91
Thanks bamboogrrl for the welcome back...

I just have to share the best welcome home we got... warm blueberry muffins on our doorstep the morning after our return!! I stepped out the door to go to the grocery store to get something for breakfast and there they were! I love our neighborhood

I started freaking out again today about our debt load and how we are ever going to make a significant debt. Dh and I talked about me going back to work again part-time, but it isn't feasible. We won't put dd in daycare, both becuase we dont' want to and because the cost isnt' worth it, and he can't cut his hours to accomdate me working because he makes about 4 times what i could get around here.

So, we decided we would review all of our expenses to try and trim back more, like health insurance (just reviewing, not giving up), definitley car insurance (anyone have any good cheap carriers? we're paying $1200 a year right now for Geico), and maybe a couple other things. I am going to start doing his books which will free him up for more billable hours, and we can also claim me as an employee and thus write off our health insurance premiums. Hopefully that will save us some cash come tax time.

so, breathing again. Hoping my craft venture and birth classes also pick up and start to bring in some dough. We need it.
post #65 of 91
Hello everyone! I hope everyone has had an excellent weekend! I think that we did well this weekend (haven't done grocerys yet though! :LOL ) We have been keeping debt in mind, saving in mind, and living in mind. We want to still enjoy our lives if it means spending two dollars to rent a movie and watch it with our daughter, or gas to get to the park to play with her then so be it. As long as we are not going over the budget allowed for family time! (Although shes been a little emotional so we have not done a lot outside of our home.) We have begun shopping for her bday too which has been fun. We are having a nemo theme and my mom is making the nemo cake for her bday gift. (one of many I'm sure!)
New Mainer you mentioned childbirth classes? What kinds do you do? Or did I misunderstand? Well I have to get going we are having company soon! Talk to you all later and GOOD luck!
post #66 of 91
Hello, mamas! I am so sorry that I haven't been around much lately. I have been trying to get DD ready to go back to school and DS came down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease and has been in major pain this past weekend. Hopefully, DD didn't pick up any of the germs!

Well, we have not had that great of a time financially lately. We have had a lot of medical bills this year for DS getting sick (ear infections, rotovirus, reactive airway disease - like asthma, hand/foot/mouth disease). Even though these aren't major illnesses, all the doctor visits and prescriptions cost money.

DH actually got a commission check that was about $300 more than he thought he would get, so we are going to pay off the credit card. Woohoo!

I have been trying to read all the posts, but have to do it a little at a time since DS has been so clingy and I have been functioning on very little sleep! Keep up the G.O.O.D work, ladies!
post #67 of 91
Hey kathsmom- welcome back! congrats on paying off a credit card. I am dreaming of that day and its motivating to hear that others actually do it!
angel- i am starting the certification program for Birthing From Within classes. Hopefully in the fall I"ll be in a position to start teaching a few workshops.

Well, my g.o.o.d news... i lowered our car insurance by $28.00 whoo- hoo! (sarcastically). Its a start. This is only by changing things with our current provider- Geico. Hopefully calling around a few other places will yield some better savings. Since we lease our car, though, we need to have a cerain level of coverage.

I called on one credit card charge that i thought was bogus but turned out to be legit . Why were we using a credit card, you might ask? ugh. don't.

I bought a 500 minute calling card at Walmart for $25 and am going to cancel our unlimited long distance plan through Verizon. Between the calling card and using dh's business line, which has the unlimited plan but is a write off, hopefully we'll be fine. I think 500 minutes is a lot. And even if we use it all in a month (like I have time to talk on the phone!!), its $25 instead of the 40 we are probably paying for unlimited.

That's a bit it for now. Have a stack of books to log on Amazon, and a yard sale to plan. But, in the mean time, off to sew. take care, mamas.
post #68 of 91
hey ladies - i'm new to the get out of debt threads, but want to join in. dh and i need to make some big changes to our lifestyle. we've got a fair amount of credit card debt, and then we both have student loans that we haven't been able to touch yet. we were living with my mom for a while to save money, then moved out, now b/c i've been going through some depression, we're moving back in. it kills me to think that if we had just stayed there over the past year we could have saved all that money in rent and utilities, though i think that i would have crashed earlier, so perhaps there's a balance here. i've decided to cut to part time to be with ds more, and dh is a student and waits tables at night. our goal is to reduce our credit card debt and not add anything on to it, and start saving some money for travel, etc., but i think it's going to take a lot of willpower. i love shopping. i do think that i've been better about buying some things recently, but not as good as i should be. the truth is, we really don't need anything, we just want it. also we love to eat out. i want to work on setting a fairly strict (but not painful) budget where we are getting out of our debt and increasing our savings. where to start? does anyone have any good budgeting tools?
post #69 of 91
kathsmom- GREAT for you for paying off the CC! Woo Hoo! I can't wait to be able to say that, even for just one card would be nice.

newmainer- Welcome back, it must be very hard to keep finances on track when traveling, but now that you are home you should be able to get going again.

We had a bad weekend for being in the "GOOD" mindset. We went to a Celtic Festival that we thought would be worth the $18 admission, but it wasn't, then the kids got cranky there after lunch (I had packed a picnic lunch ), so I paid $9 for hot pretzels and an ice cream. What a waste of $27

Ah well, I just move forward. It actually bothers me more to "waste" $27 than to spend $100 on something worthwhile.

Ladies, I have been thinking on the Life Insurance thing, and came across this:

Thoughts? Right now dh and I both have whole life coverage for $100,000 each, which would be enough for either of us to live (very frugally) until the kids were all in school and we could go back to work (if the other one died), there would be nothing for college, or any extra at all, and we are paying $130/month for this coverage. We are happy not to be "throwing the money away", but would like more coverage (ideally) at a lower cost.

I am so glad that even though we are slowing down a bit with posting, that we are all still committed to the "GOOD" life. (I love that acronym).

post #70 of 91
Thread Starter 
Wow, insurance must be different here in the US. We have a $1 million policy on DH and it only costs us $85 (Cdn) a month. I know I should get some insurance too, but he's the main breadwinner right now and frankly, we can't afford it.

kerc: that's a good point about getting the US report, too. I suppose I'll have to get it online, unless they are willing to mail it to me in canada.

I'm battling two medical bill charges. One for almost $200 for a procedure that simply must have been billed wrong. The administration is looking into it and I'm hoping they can get it settled. The other is for $450 and I have to write an official appeal for that one. Ugh. Health care in this country sucks. We never paid for anything in Canada (other than our monthly premiums, which are only $108/month for all three of us).

We're having a tough budget month, as I described above. We're well into our overdraft account due to plane tickets and apartment deposits. I plan to pay that all off when I get paid at the end of this month. It means, of course, taking most of my paycheck, but at least we won't have that debt hanging over our heads. I'm so debt-averse now....another good thing to come out of this club.

The hard part is we're in budget limbo right now b/c DH doens't have a job yet and we have no idea what our monthly income is going to be. While we plan to be frugal, it's hard to budget when you have a big lump sum in your account and don't know how long it has to last.

alison: I used to love shopping too, but you know what I found out? If I don't go to malls, I don't shop and I don't even want anything b/c I don't see it. It sounds simple but it truly works. I never go to malls unless I have a specific item to buy, and that is rare. Oh, I do go with my mum when she visits b/c she loves to shop, but she also loves to buy me stuff so then it's okay, lol!

newmainer: I go through regular "freak outs", usually triggered by my pregnancy-induced insomnia. Nothing like being wide awake at 4 am staring at the ceiling to make you start to worry. We've been moving around, changing jobs, etc for the last three years. We did it to be home for the kids, and I totally don't regret it. And it's been fun. But I'm just so OVER it now. I want to buy a place and get settled in one city and be able to fill out a form and not have ten different addresses, none of which were longer than a few months, lol. With DH not having a job, and a new prospect that has come up for next year in Chicago, I have no sense of permanence right now. Oh well, I have to muddle through life one month at a time. Usually I'm pretty upbeat about it, but I do go through my worry phases - we'll never own a place, we'll never get out of debt, we'll never have savings/retirement...blah blah blah. It's unfounded, I know...but still I worry!
post #71 of 91
piglet ---> be gentle on yourself. these pregnancy days of uncertainty are very tough. My dd followed months and months of the kind of uncertainty that being in a phd program brings. Make that being pregnant in a phd program (and married to a phd candidate to boot!). prospect in chicago? for you or for dh?

malls ---> we moved to duluth, mn and suddenly the mall was no longer a good destination. they didn't have my favorite stores so i didn't want to go. it has saved us tons of cash. i used to buy a lot of things like the t shirt at a remarkable deal, but then had nothing to go with it. Now I think in terms of outifts -- do I own something already it matches? do they have pants that are reasonably priced and fit? -- I do the same with erin's clothes and it is fabulous.

groceries for the last month have been crazy for me. Plus we had to pay the organic csa farm for winter shares this month. We ate very well from the freezer last night so it can be done. I'm trying to make it to satuyrday without buying any groceries. I'm sure it can be done. dd had bread and dip for breakfast, don't tell the bad parent patrol!
post #72 of 91
Here is my goal, in writing, for all to see: Get out of cc debt by Oct. 1, 2005. Wish me luck.
post #73 of 91
PS. I'm going to keep a list of things I want, but have refrained from buying. So, far, my list is up to $114.53
post #74 of 91
welcome allison! This is a great thread- I think you'll get a lot out of it. A lot of us have read, Your Money or Your Life (*available at the library, usually) which is amazing for resetting your whole outlook on shopping and spending money. Its not about budgeting, its about living frugally but not depriving yourself. To quote the book," Budgets, like diets, do not work." I tried budgeting for years, and this truly is the first thing that has really clicked for us. The Tightwad Gazette is another good one. I don't use the ideas so much as the inspiration.

o, and malls have never been my issue- its local boutiques and bookstores! ugh!

Re: Life Insurance. We dont have any, I think. Well, my grandmother has a very small policy for me. Like 10,000. I was just quoted 300,000 for dh at only $28.00 a month. Soooo, those who are paying more might want to shop around. This is through Allstate. I don't think we're going to get it right now, though it might be stupid. We need to discuss it more. Oh, I know the thing that bothered me. Its only for 20 years, and then its done. You've paid all this money, and if you don't use it, its over and i guess you sign up for another, more expensive, policy because you're older and there's more risk. Hmmm. Don't know about that. Though, since we have jack for savings, it might be prudent.

My GOOD deeds:

- Going to the grocery store on Monday's only. its' been working. I do pop back in on Wednesday just to get raw milk because its delievered late Tuesday afternoon. I think this week I will try to plan to get us through next Tuesday so I can really make it only once a week. Spending a bit more than we'd like, but I think we can trim it. My goal is under $100 a week with organic food.

- Cancelled our long distance. We have only local now, for $31 a month (down from $75 for an unlimited calling plan), and then I bought a calling card with $500 prepaid minutes for $25 at Walmart. The only thing that sucks about it is that you have to listen to stupid Walmart ads before it dials. I hate that. Might try to find a non-ad card, if that's possible. Anyone got one?

-Resisted buying dd a nice Waldorf doll for her first doll. Just couldnt' justify the $50, as nice as it was. Bought a little one for $10. I think I might get one of the waldorf kits and sew one myself for a Christmas present.

Our first craft fair is rapidly approaching!! (sept. 11th) I am nervous i am not going to sell anything, but keeping a positive outlook. I need to seriously start putting in the hours sewing.

So, that's us. Dh is working a bit less now, which financially is a bit nervewracking, but its great to see him more.

GOOD luck all!
post #75 of 91
ok i am in serious need of a jump start. we are spending $$ left and right. It is planned, but I need to remind myself of the end goal (and that I am not alone in this).

we're remodeling the basement right now and I just want to hire someone to do it. but we got a bid on installing a window that was like 700 bucks more than we expected so I am revisiting my goals for this project. 700 bucks....my family could vacation in style for that. so....babysitter for the kiddo and i think we will be doing it ourselves. urgh. I want this project done.
post #76 of 91
Yes Kerc, we need to get this thread moving again. I think doing it yourself is a GREAT idea, but dh and I are home improvement nuts . You can log onto www.hgtv.com for instructions for all kinds of home improvement stuff.

We are doing ok, a few slips here and there, like I bought SIL's b-day gift though I could've taken the time to make her something. I managed to spend nothing on my trip to visit my brother, dh couldn't go, so my dad went with me and insisted on paying gas, tolls and meals, and brother and SIL didn't let me buy any meals while we were there either.

Dh got a $3000 raise at his year review, we would've needed $8000 to make up for our medical insurance costs, but, at least he got something. This should allow us to live "in the black" while being very frugal, the past few months we have been relying on selling stuff off and cashing in a life insurance policy of mine to stay in the black.

Dh is going for a new job, which would be great if he gets it, it is doubtful that the money would be much better, but no doubt the insurance would be as he'd be working for a college, and most importantly, he would be happier as his current job is awful. Right now he is making $38,000, we figure that with good medical insurance he could take the new job (if they offer it to him) for around $30,000 and still be able to make ends meet.

Dh is designing something new for us to sell on ebay, something that I am hoping will sell really well, esp. around Christmas as it would be a great gift item, so, maybe we'll be able to pay off more debt if it takes off like I am hoping.

On a GOOD/frugal related note, I got some new clothes for me and dd yesterday. SIL had a bunch of clothes she had tried to sell at MIL's garage sale but they didn't sell, so she was going to take them all to Salvation Army, so I went through them and found 3 shirts, 2 pair of pants and a jacket- for nothing , decent stuff, mostly Old Navy which I like . Then CIL (cousin in law ) had a bag of hand me downs for dd, lots of cute stuff, mostly stuff that will fit her next summer, but, some rain boots and a pair of black dress shoes too.

Both of my kids need new shoes right now, so I am going to check out AJ Wright after Mass, they usually have discounted Stride Rite shoes, I can usually find something for dd there, but ds has extra wide feet (darn him :LOL) so, I'll probably have to buy his full price (well, at least on sale at the shoe store.

How's that for an update?

How is everyone else holding up? Piglet- how is your dh's job search going?
post #77 of 91
More inspiration needed here too... I think its hard to stay in the mindset all the time. not that i'm spending wildly, but the goal gets a little fuzzy, kwim?

overall, we're doing ok. i am doing *much, much* better at shopping only once a week and really meal planning. The two times I ran to the store to get something, it was for one item, which is all i walked out with (ice cream once and half and half for coffee). This morning, we are out of milk, eggs, butter, bread... so dh had left over eggplant parmesan for breakfast . oh well, tomorrow is shopping day.

i've also sold about $150 worth of books on amazon. mostly our old stuff. I've been so excited about it! I went to Goodwill to try and get some stuff for cheap that i thought would sell, but there were several hundred copies starting at 2-. not worth it. i figure i'll just sell our stuff.

every week when we have our financial meeting, i get re-inspired. maybe we need to do it twice weekly. we have committed to paying off 1/2 of our credit card debt in one year. that is a lot of money, mamas. I am too embarrassed to say, but if we can do it, it will be huge. baby steps...
post #78 of 91
Hi! I'm new, but hope to join your awesome group. I've just spent the last hour catching up on all the posts, and I have really been inspired!

DH and I are expecting our first ds or dd in 3 WEEKS!!!! : I am so excited I can hardly stand it.

BUT, I am also really nervous about the unknown. I am completely unprepared for what this will mean financially for us. I am going to be a SAHM, so our income will change. And it seems like the list of things we need for baby continues to grow...I worry that it will grow, grow, and grow forever! (It doesn't help that I am well into my nesting phase. )

We have been trying to live on one income for the last 3 months and have been doing OK. But, I agree with some of you when you say that when the money is there, it's hard to resist spending it. So, I opened up an ING direct savings acct. and put almost 3000 in it...and we're direct depositing 35 dollars every 2 weeks in it. Not anywhere near the recommended 10%, but I have to start with baby steps. It helps having this account as opposed to my regular savings that is linked to my checking acct. It was too easy to transfer money out and into checking. With the ING account, I can still access the money but it takes about 3 days, so I have to really need/want it to go to the trouble. So far, it's worked for me.

Here's my current challenge: I am trying to spend no more than 120 dollars a week for ALL expenses (excluding bills). I have been trying this for the last 3 months and have gone over every single week! It's been ok since I was still getting paid and we had the money...but in 3 weeks, we won't!! So I have to figure out a way to adhere to this budget or I'm going to start running up debt. This week, I decided to try something new. In the past, I've been logging everything I spend and adding it up...and it always passes right by that 125 mark...This week, I put 125 at the top and am subtracting my purchases like a checkbook register so I know exactly how much I have left in the budget. Sounds so simple, why did it take me so long to think of it??? We'll see if it works.

My mom is staying with me during the week since I'm a big baby and don't want to be alone this close to delivery! But....she spends money like crazy..and it's rubbing off on me. Even though she has no job, no savings, really no money, she spends, spends, spends. Not a great role model. When she was here on Friday, she offered to take me out to breakfast...I didn't really want to b/c although eating out used to be my biggest expense, I have pretty much cut it out b/c I never have anything to show for it. BUT, she mentioned it about 5 times, so I eventually gave in. Anyway, when the bill came, I felt bad letting her pay since she has no job...so I offered and she let me. It was 21.65 for the two of us to eat BREAKFAST!!! And I didn't even really want it. And I am still (3 days later) really mad at myself for letting it happen...and a little mad at my mom, even though I know that's not fair and I am responsible for my own actions...But what a waste!

So, I'm nervous about being strong this week and really sticking to my budget..I have about 80 dollars left until Friday when I start over, and I still have to buy groceries (which that 20 dollars could have paid half of them! : ) and gas..any pointers or inspiration on sticking with it and staying strong when my mom suggests shopping and eating out this week???

Sorry guys that I've rambled so long but you have really inspired me to be strong and I just had to get these fears out to some people who can understand and relate..Thanks for listening!
post #79 of 91
I have been following this thread a bit, but haven't posted yet.

We were loosely doing Your $ or Your Life, and have skimmed Un-jobbing. We just now became completely debt free and now have a pretty big (to us at least!) chunk left over at the end of the month.

We have a big decision to make now- to take the money and get out of this rental on the main drag thru town, and buy a nice house with a bit of acerage in the country, etc, OR to do the investment thing and have DH retire really early. Both would be awesome.

I admit I am a little confused on the last few steps in YMOYL. Does anyone know how much money would we have to have invested to make about $2000 income a month? I have pregnant brain and don't have it all figured out yet.

I really want my DC to have some acerage to run around on, so we are seeing if we can't do a happy medium somehow. With the baby coming any day, we won't be moving for a few months anyway, so I have time to think about it.
post #80 of 91
Can anyone tell me exactly how to figure tax deductions for charitable contributions, like clothes, etc.? I've been donating for years and I always keep the receipts but then I never know how to use them to deduct. I think there is a book with a scale or something?

I noticed one of you menioned this type of deduction, so I thought I'd ask.
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