Monday, March 31, 2008

Re-Finance A Bust

I just tried to refinance my auto loan through HSBC and they couldn't beat what I already have. The value of my car is around $10k according to the rep. and I still owe nearly $13k. My mileage is excellent. He also said that because of my income they couldn't lower the rate or the payment. The best payment he came up with was $382/month. That's $70 more. I didn't even want to know the rate he was getting. I think 11.45% is extremely high, but he said it was good compared to what he came up with.

I'll try again in a few months when I've significantly paid the car down.

March Wrap-Up

Part-time Gig

Nothing manifested. My old job never got back to me about working 2 hours in the afterschool program and I'm not one to push. My brother still hasn't brought the information on this real estate thing he wants to do. I've already reminded him, but I think he has a lot on his plate right now.

Bank Accounts

I finally got all my automatic deposits and withdrawls re-routed to my WAMU account and I closed my PICU accounts. The fees were killing me and the branch is too far from home. It was perfect when I worked around the corner, but lately it's been more of a burden to maintain those accounts.

I need to call Flagstar because everytime I log in to check on my CD the APY is different. Of course it's lower because of the economy, but it should lock in the day I open the account and remain the same until the account matures. The rate was 3.86% the day I opened the account and now they are showing it as 3.51%.

Spring Break

Today is the last day of our Spring Break. The girls and I spent four days and three nights at a hotel. I took $450 from my Birthday fund to pay for it and $100 from my checking padding and I put another $100 on my credit card. I booked the rooms on Priceline so they were about $75/night. The food is what killed me. I need to budget for it next time. I also need to set limits on how much we can spend on each meal. My plan is to pay back this money from my Economic Stimulus Tax Rebate.

Money Games

I used some of last month's $49 to pay my $30 fee for the homebuyers program I joined. This month I didn't do as good. I only saved $28. Honestly I look at any savings as a victory, considering my not too distant past.

Mom Car Loan

I finally came up with a plan to pay my mom back for my previous car. Instead of putting all my extra money into paying off my current car, I'm going to put a little aside for her. I'm only going to put either a full months car payment of $308.68 or a half months car payment of $154.34 toward my car. Anything over those increments is going to repay my mom. I know it sounds confusing. Let's say I have $360 for debt repayment. I'll put $308.68 toward my current car and the remaining $51.32 toward my mom. If I have $500 then I'll put $463.02 toward my car (1.5 months) and the remaining $36.98 toward repaying my mom.

I Won Two More Books

I forgot to post this last week. Last Monday I got 2 emails saying that I won a book on two different blogs. I'm so excited. It doesn't take much effort for me enter these contests and I generally only enter for books I'm really interested in. When I win it's a real treat. They even ship the books to me for free. It saves me a ton of money.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Time Flies

I can't believe it's been over 2 weeks since I've posted anything here. I'm sure that's because I haven't been as on top of my finances as I should have been.

I spent most of today catching up financially. I've updated my budget spreadsheet for this month and next month. The last thing I have to do is figure out how much my paycheck will be in April because I'm not getting paid for a few of the days I was off.

I'm going to try to update on Monday.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Just A Thought

I was thinking yesterday about how I am repaying my auto loan. I don't know if I'm going to do this, but here's the plan. As I posted previously, my next car payment is not due until June. I have $829.68 budgetted to pay each month. Instead of sending those payments in April and May I would like to send just the interest that I'm being charged during those months. I would like to put the rest of the money into my savings account and let it earn a few cents of interest. Then in June I would send all the money I had budgetted from April, May and June which would be the equivalent of 8 months of payments. So the next time I could save the money and earn 8 months worth of interest.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


My large payment finally posted and the balance on my auto loan is now: $12,995.36. Yay! I owe less than $13k!! My next payment isn't due until 6/28/2008. That is so awesome.

The bad news is that I have to retract a previous statement. I am not right side up on my loan. I went to the Kelley Blue Book website today and priced my car. The Suggested Retail Value is $12,725. I still have a couple hundred dollars to go before I'm ahead.

Next month I will surely be on the right side of this loan. I'm being really patient with it all right now. I'm enjoying the successes as they come, small and large. I'm trying to deal with the ripples before they become waves. :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Part-time Gig

Two possible part-time gigs fell into my lap today.

A friend at the school I used to work for asked me if I wanted to come back and help them with the after-school program. I thought she was joking, but she was serious. She told me to think about it. She doesn't have the final say, but her boss does and it's just the 2 of them in that office, so I think she has some insight into the situation.

Last year I worked the program for 3 months when I was at that school and I hated it. BUT, it was a new program to our school and our administrator was very disorganized. We didn't have any supplies and the kids' behavior was terrible. I was so stressed out, but the money was good. The only reason I quit was because my dad and my sister both got sick at the same time and I had to take care of them and go to doctor's appointments with them.

My friend hated it as much as I did last year. We all did. She said the kids are better this year and they have a lot more supplies and activities for the kids. She said things are a lot better and they are way more organized.

It would be 2 hours a day. I could choose how many days I want to work. I'm not sure of the schedule, but it would either be 3p-5p or 4p-6p. It would mean an extra $500 a month for the next couple of months until school gets out. It wouldn't cost me any extra gas since my kids go to that school and I pick them up everyday. My kids could get into the program right now instead of being on the waiting list.


My brother wants to start doing some real estate thing and he wants my help. He wants me to research properties for him. He's going to bring me his information tomorrow and let me look it over. I think it's something I can do on the weekend.

I'm going to pray about it tonight and I am going to make a decision tomorrow. I think I'll probably end up trying to do both.


The last couple of weeks I have been so tired when I come home that I don't really want to deal with my finances at all. I guess the "newness" of this responsibility has worn off. It's like when I was 6. I really wanted to learn how to iron clothes. My brothers were 15,17 and 18 so they did most of the chores. I was still too young to do anything right. I would see them ironing their clothes and my father's clothes. (My mom ironed her clothes and mine. My brothers probably would have burned mine because I was such a spoiled brat.) I thought it looked so fun. I begged and begged my mom to teach me. She wouldn't because I was too young and probably would have burned my hand and then dropped the iron on my foot. LOL! A few years later, when my brothers had all moved out and I was older - I had to learn. I was super excited - the first few times. By time summer rolled around and it got hot I was "over" ironing. I began to question why, since both my parents worked and I was the only child left at home, they couldn't afford to put their clothes in the cleaners. LOL!

This week I've been spending money like crazy. I've eaten out several times and used my debit card (Misc. money) because I only have like $45 cash left of my $200 monthly allowance. Sad to say I would have used my credit card if I hadn't been smart enough to remove it from my wallet and my bag. The LIE I've been telling myself in order to carry my debit card is that I need it for gas. My gas money is in that account, but I gassed up yesterday (at a truly horrendous $3.43/gallon) and now the need for carrying this card is over.

So the time for reckoning has come. Remember Susan Powter? The nearly bald- blonde haired lady who lost a ton of weight and was always screaming:


Today Susan is yelling at me about my finances. So I'm holding myself accountable TODAY and tired as I am I will:

  1. balance my checkbook
  2. pay back my misc. fund
  3. take my debit card out of my wallet
  4. only carry my debit card when driving the 3 short blocks to the gas station
Otherwise my budget seems to actually work. The numbers are do-able if I can just get over my mental block of telling myself I'm trapped. For goodness sake I give myself $200/month. I can do plenty with that.

BTW, I thought Susan Powter was crazy at the time, but a few years ago after her fad died down I purchased a couple of her used videos on eBay and I really liked them. Go figure.

So I'm labeling posts along this line - Ripples. Ripples are the tiny waves that occur in water when there has been some small disturbance to the water. They let you know it's time to stop floating and to start swimming and paying attention. You could ignore them and continue to float, but you'd end up somewhere very different than where you wanted to go. I'm sure there will be more. Nothing in life comes without obstacles.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sometimes financial responsibility is SCARY!!!


That's a large scary number for me. That's the payment I sent to my auto finance company today. I've sent $650 before because I was behind, but never as an extra payment. Like I said before this is the first month that I'm really living on the budget I created (with tons of help from WIR). I'm right on track.

I can't wait until tomorrow when it clears my account and I can breathe again. I mean once it's gone - it's gone. I can't change it. Until then I'm shaking in fear. I don't exactly know why, but I am.

I want to keep $100 of it in my account for unplanned expenses, but I know that's unnecessary. I have an EF and $100 padding in my checking account. Not to mention the $20 or $30 I have in my Misc. fund for little things that may come up. I'm covered, but I can't convince my brain of that.

I guess part of me is still shocked that I was wasting this much money on fast food and other frivilous things just 3 months ago. If you had asked me then, I would have told you that I didn't have any extra money for savings (beyond the $50 I was putting in my Save Yourself Account). I would never have believed that I had nearly $600 extra that I could use to pay off my debt.

The exciting thing is that once I pay off my car - I will be putting nearly $1000 into savings each month, not including the retirement that comes out of my paycheck automatically. I can't wait to reach the day I transfer the money into savings instead of my car note. :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Flagstar Bank

I opened my first CD today. Well I did it on Sunday, but the money transferred yesterday and the account is official today. It's a 6 month CD and the rate is 3.86%, the APY is 3.91%. I put $500 of my Christmas fund in it so it could earn a little more interest and be a little further out of my reach. I haven't touched it so far, but it's better not to temp myself.

I also opened a money market account with them because they had a phenomenol rate of 4.18% with an APY of 4.25%. I used the other $100 in my Christmas Fund for this. Their MMA has free checks for life and it comes with a Visa debit card. I think that's awesome because I don't have either of those with my Save Yourself Account and the interest rate is much lower on the SYA account.

Yay for me!

BL @ Work Week 2 Weigh-In **Official**

I lost another 1.5 pounds. I'm now down 2.5 pounds for the challenge. That's good and I'm really happy about it. Especially since I didn't workout all last week. I was disappointed in the amount of weight I lost the first week because I put in so much work. Although, I didn't exercise last week I still kept my eating more controlled.

I probably won't exercise much this week either because I'm quickly coming down with something. I feel tired, weak, cold, stuffy, etc. I also feel like I'm going to get a fever. I've been coughing for the past 3 or so days, but I thought a tiny piece of popcorn had gotten trapped in my throat because I didn't feel bad at all. My throat just felt funny. Then I noticed that my cough sounded funny and I wasn't sure why. So today all of a sudden during lunch something hit me and is coming on strong. I guess I shouldn't be surprised because my dad and my sister have been sick for over a month and both had terrible coughs.

Okay, back to the topic at hand. I need to get well and step up my game because I'm not going to win the $90 losing 1 pound a week. I'm going to ask the teacher running it if she will let us all know how much everyone is losing. That would motivate me a little. :)

I'm not angry, but I am ahead!

I'm over being angry about the interest the auto finance company is deducting from each payment. I am still shocked each time I see how much it is. I wish I new what formula they use to calculate it. Then I would know ahead of time what to expect.

Last week some of my bills were less than expected and I found an extra $40.41 to send them. This time only $14.55 was applied to the principal. $25.86 went to interest. That's still so crazy to me. I wonder if there is a difference dollar for dollar if I send the payments in as one large lump sum instead of the smaller payments. I mean do they charge less interest for one $300 payment than they do for six $50 payments? It sure seems like it works that way.

On an extremely positive note ** I AM ONE WHOLE MONTH AHEAD ON MY CAR NOTE!** I am so happy. My next payment is not due until April 28, 2008. I don't get paid until next week, so I haven't even sent this month's regular payment or extra payment. By the end of this month I should be 3.5 months ahead and I may even be under $13k owed on the car.

Plain and simple before April rolls in I will be right side up on my auto loan! Yay!!!! Maybe around June I can look into refinancing at a lower rate. I don't know anything about refinancing so I have to do my research and be careful.

I forgot all about FPU :(

I was supposed to start Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University classes this past Sunday. I forgot all about it until right now. I'm a little disappointed. I really wanted to go check it out and see what it was about. Maybe it's good I forgot. I tend to overwhelm myself sometimes and then it takes me a while to recover. The good news is that I can start them anytime because the classes are independent of one another. I would just be losing money on the kit I have to purchase because I wouldn't get the full use of it. It's just something to keep in mind, but I probably won't go.