Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bungalow Dreams...

It's been a while since I posted but I'm happy to report that we are debt free! Over $62K in 20 months. So after paying off the debt, we are back down to having about $2K in the bank. Though this is a little unsettling, we can quickly save some money to boost our savings.

So now that we have everything paid off, our next goal is to save 20% down for a house. Since we live in West Michigan, the cost of living is pretty low so we could probably get a great home between $130-160K. We have been casually looking for a house but we have not seen anything that has peaked our interest in years. There's a HUD home going on the market soon so we might see what it's all about.

The one thing about paying off debt, it feels good but then your focus gets a tad off because everything is paid off...then you're back to saving for something else, our case is a house. I just hope that we stick with our intensity and our focus does not stray.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I have to radically accept that I cannot save this month

I have to radically accept that I cannot save any major money this month until the end of the month. This stinks but Mr. Thrifty is going off for training for 2 weeks and we have to pay for his meals upfront. His company will reimburse on his check later in the month and they are going to give him a $30 per day for the 14 days. At least his does not have to pay for his room because that would really be bad. I figure that I could possibly save some at the end but I'm not too sure how much it will be, something will be better than nothing though. This month is definitely an expensive month. We have insurance due, property taxes, and pay off the IPOD that DH bought for his commute. I figure that we should get back on track in October. I just got to keep telling myself 6 more months until we are debt free. Then what? It's kind of funny to think about that but in six months we will have no debt. We don't have a mortgage, the houses in our area are just plain awful (lack of style and cookie cutters), and our cars are 3 years old. I guess that leaves us to save, save, save. I just wonder how many people hit debit free and then go immediately back into debt. I could see how it would be possible but hopefully we have a good solid plan to save.

The house buying will come along. The houses in the current area that we rent are ranch homes that were built in the 1970's. Our style is the 1920s bungalow so when we look around here we almost get depressed because there is nothing that is really appealing. We're thinking that if we can continue to rent here for two years we can built the home we desire. Too bad it's just not out there at this time because I keep on looking for that perfect home...I just wonder if it really exists.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tight savings week, cheap gas again? What's going on?

It’s a tight saving’s week. I try to put the most amount of savings in the emigrant account on a weekly basis. We have about $150 until Friday. All the bills are paid so this is good but it’s a weird feeling because I get a tad nervous. I always think that something is going to happen. The funny thing is that I got 2 unexpected checks in the mail so that helped out a great deal. It’s also a tad tight because Mr. Thrifty needed to get his car fixed and I had to pay for my plate tags. This is the 5th time this year that we’ve had the Saturn in the shop, luckily everything has been warranty work but the warranty is almost out because he is about to hit 100K. I have to say, that warranty was the best thing that he has picked up because it has paid for itself twice already. Now I just hope that everything is fixed so there won’t be any more surprises. At least we paid it off a few months ago. I just hope that we can get another 3 years out of the car. Saturn cars are known for being high mileage vehicles so hopefully this will happen to our car. Mr. Thrifty is extremely diligent about getting his car maintained. He gets turn ups and maintenance. I on the other hand, just get oil changes. Luckily, my car is a Jeep and it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. Plus there are a ton of beater Jeeps out there so I’m hopeful that mine will be one too one day.

Speaking of cars, what’s with the gas prices going down? Especially near Labor Day, what’s going on here? I’m enjoying that it’s getting down to $2.59 a gallon but it’s like I’m expecting it to go up again. The crappy thing is that I get about 17 mpg but at least I attempt to car pool 3-4x a week. Fall is coming up and I hope I don’t have to cut down on the carpooling because I have to work late. I’m hoping that I can do some creative scheduling with my families that I work with so I can leave at 5 pm. If I don’t my gas expense goes up $35 a week. Thank god for carpooling!

Coolest savings of the day that I found. Restaurant.com is running a 60% off sale so go there, buy some coupons and at the end type in the discount code: 78022 then press recalculate. Have fun, cheap meals are always good.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Resale shops and Credit cards...

When the summer first hit, I had limited amount of shorts so I hit all the local thrift stores. I found one pair so needless to say, I had to break down and spend $18 at Kohls for a new pair. I hate buying new clothes. I love clothes but the idea of paying for the at a retail price makes me sick because once they hit the washer, they are "used". So here it is today, 3 months later that I was able to find 3 pairs of shorts at the Salvation Army for $2.99...I'll store them for next year. I also found an American eagle hoodie at Goodwill for $3.29, J Crew sweater for $3.29, a nine west purse for $2.99, and an Eddie Bauer Diaper Bag for $2.99 (which I will probably put on eBay or keep for possible future purposes). Not a bad day for finding some items at resale. About 90% of my clothing comes from thrift stores. Though when I do buy items at the thrift stores, they are all named brand. I don't go to resale shops to buy Walmart Clothing. I go to buy J Crew, Gap, Ann Taylor, Lands End, etc. The only thing that I don't skimp on is shoes. I refuse to buy cheap shoes. My favorite shoes are my Chaco Sandals. I have two pairs and I bought both on sale for around $65 (they normally retail for $100). No skimping on the shoes here...

Mr. Thrify and I went out to the east coast on vacation and we had a little incident with his credit card (the only one we have) and we couldn't rent a car because we didn't have another one. Mr. Thrity's credit union cancelled all their visa cards because their security system was comprimised but we had no idea that this happened so went we went to Enterprise they refused to give us a car. They wouldn't take the Visa Debit Card nor cash. So his aunt rented us a car and we were able to get a new card sent to us overnighted so we could rent a car for the trip home. This was the second time in my life that I couldn't rent a car because I didn't have a credit card so I signed up for a Citibank Rewards Card. They supposively are going to give back 5% at gas stations and we spend about $700 a month in gas so we'll see if it's worth it. At least we'll never be without a way to rent a car. I haven't had a credit card since 2002. I thought it would be a good idea to have a credit card since we are paying everything off and we need a FICHO score when we go to get a mortgage someday. I know Dave Ramsey says "if you play with snakes you'll get bit", hopefully I will be responsible. The plan is to put all the gas on the card and pay it off at the end of the month. I know I can do this, it's just going to take discipline.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Here are the numbers for the month...

I'm over budget for the month. We had a couple of costly things that occured this month like a car tune up, Mr. Thrity and my plate tags, and rental insurance. It seems like the budget won't settle down until October because we have car insurance next month for Mr. Thrifty. But at least we saved $2K in a month to Emigrant.

Budget for August 2006:

Actual Budget Difference
Auto Gas 622 700 78
Auto Payment 550 550 0
Auto - Rep./Maint. 897 25 -872
Cable TV 76 90 14
Cash Withdrawl 22 60 38
Clothing 36 20 -16
Dining out 132 100 -32
Future Home Fixtures 0 10 10
Gifts 25 50 25
Groceries 81 225 144
Gym 112 112 0
Healthcare 112 122 10
Hobbies/Leisure 0 20 20
Household 510 5 -505
Insurance 148 148 0
Rent 650 650 0
Personal Care 0 22 22
Phone/Wireless 147 110 -37
Postal Costs 8 5.5 -2
Sevices/Memberships 0 5 5
Utilities 62 215 153
Work Cost Remburse 50 60 10
Total 4,239 3304.34 -935

My Journey To Being a Thrifty Person

Welcome, I'm Mrs. Thrifty...I've not always been the wisest with money but I've smartened up over the years. My early 20's were not always the wisest years but I changed my ways over the years and now I much more responsible than I was.

I started becoming a spender when I was 16. I got a job at a supermarket as a bagger and my weekly routine was to go to the mall and spend spend spend. If I saw something, I would buy it. I really didn't pay attention to my folks who said "You really need to save". I was enjoying myself. It was the first time I got expensive clothes and it made me feel good. I no longer was getting teased from my classmates about my appearance or stuff. Shopping was a rush...

Then I got to college. The first week I was there, I opened a credit card. They stationed their booth right outside the dorm and they had a cool T-Shirt so why not? My first purchase was a pair of J Crew Construction Boots and I told myself I would pay it off but I didn't...

Then came along a mooch of a boyfriend. He was super cheap and I was very generous. I would take us out to dinner, buy him stuff, etc. Then came the end of college, I was $5K in debt from credit cards. As a graduation gift, my parents paid it off..

But I didn't stop charging...Graduate school was a stretch and there were times that I had to put stuff on the card. I graduated then moving back to the North came with costs that I couldn't pay plus it took me a few months to find a job and Mooch did not help me during this time so I was getting more in debt. I started to sell things on eBay to make ends meet. I finally got a job, moved out of mooch's place, and continued to charge. Then I heard Dave Ramsey...

It was about 2001 when I heard his message of becoming Debt Free. This was a new concept to me. What, not use a credit card? So I tried it...and it worked. I was able to pay off $6K in credit card debt, $9K car loan, and $16K financial aid loan in about 3 years.

Since then, I have become a lot more responsible. Luckily, I met Mr. Thrifty so he is on the same level of thriftiness as I am. We got married, had a cheap but beautiful wedding $5K all together and we started to merge ourselves financially...

Now that is a difficult task. As you can see, I make more money than Mr. Thrifty and just because I was debt free besides my car does not constitute that I was a saver. So I was a huge impulse shopper, especially on the web. I paid cash for it, but I necessarily did not need it. I have a whole closet of "good deals" that I don't use. I found it perfectly acceptable when we first got married to buy anything I wanted without consent...

Now that all changed when he lost his job. Mr. Thifty was a pilot and the small operation he worked for let him go because they lost a contract. 7 months after getting married, Mr. Thrifty was unemployed. We had a small emergency fund but not the 3-6 months living expenses that they recommend. DH was fortunate to get a temp like job and it was at that point where we fully merged the financial aspect of our lives. We lived on my income and put away his money that he earned. During his unemployment we were able to save about $4K and still pay off a piece of property that we bought. My thoughts turned to saving...

So I became obsessed with budgeting and saving. I opened up a Emigrant account and got a good idea where the money was going. DH got a job 9 months later in a different field and it offered benefits beyond his wildest imagination. He never had a 401(K) or a pension so he has both.

So here we are at almost 31 and 34 without a house but with minimal debt. Our financial goal is to become debt free in early 2007. Then we are on super saving mode and will save save save. We currently rent a home from an elderly individual who is in a nursing home and the rent is about $650. Our goal is to save as much as we can until she passes away and the house is sold. Then we are onto buying. With being in our 30's, a starter home is out. We're going to have to jump into a larger home. I hope the housing market stays steady until we're ready to buy. The good thing is that I still look for homes weekly on the net. So far, I haven't seen anything that I would want to buy. To make matters more complicated, we are currently stuck in our current area right now because it is half way between our work places. I travel 1 hour north to my job, Mr. Thrifty travels 1 hour south to his job. We like the houses architecture wise about a mile from our rental home but unfortunately the school district is horrible and if we have children, they would have to be sent to private school and I don't really want that. So, we are waiting...and saving.

My hopes is to document the journey into the house, share some saving tips, and get feedback also. Thanks for stopping by...Mrs. Thrifty