Another one bites the dust

So I’m happy to announce that I made my last payment on a card this morning. I had to do the math to make sure I was good but $858.51 was made early just because of the fact that I have 3 pay periods in June. That just leaves me my truck and house now. With only the truck left the plan is to pay it off at $1770 a month for 5 months. The reality is I can do $1400 a month and pay it off by December and give myself some breathing room to buy some Christmas gifts and do some nice things for the wife the summer/fall.

Every time I make an update on my everydollar app I just feel like I’m in control of my finances and even when unexpected things pop-up it’s not the end of the world now. The wife and I can have a quick talk about it and move on because we aren’t struggling to find the money to do stuff.

Have a good 4th of July everyone and keep working for your own Independence day.

Last Payment

The Bills

Revolving Debt: $0.00 (last update $3,132.46)

Vehicle: $8,156.91 (last update $8,713.51)

House: $183,647.59 (last update $184,383.47)

Total: $191,804.50 (last update $196,229.44)

Difference: $4,424.94

 

 

 

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My favorite month

So as luck would have it the month of June is great for a lot of reasons. First and foremost is that it’s my birth month. Second is the fact that there are 3 pay periods for me in the month. Lastly, I also got my bonus this month. So with the extra paycheck and the bonus I’m actually able to pay off another bill. When it’s all said and done I will have put $3132.46 since my last statement (15 May) towards one bill. I had to do my numbers to make sure I would have enough for food, gas, etc but this bill is done come 30 June.

So next month when I start I’ll have my truck and my house and that is it. All of my revolving credit will be at $0.00 balance. I will owe $8700 on my truck but with the snowball I’ll be putting $1800 a month on it for 5 months and it will be done and after that is the house. I plugged my numbers into the debt snowball spreadsheet that I use and I created a different spreadsheet specifically for the house so I could get my formulas as close as possible to what we were actually seeing with the way we put extra down towards principal. In a perfect world we would have a ton of money to put down at the beginning of the month and everything would be easy. Unfortunately, we each put $125 per paycheck throughout the month towards principal so even though the numbers for my spreadsheet are close it was just easier to do some computations and make up my own formulas and spreadsheet.

So the wife and I have been doing really good about planning all or most of our meals. At the beginning of June I went to a local butcher and they have a variety of meat packages for everything from family packages to grilling packages, etc. The wife and I got a variety package and a package for two that came with enough protein for her and I for the month. The really cool thing is if you spend over $200 you get another 10lbs of cut up chicken. So that is 3 whole birds, or 6 nights of dinner for her and I, already cut up that we can grill or throw in the dutch oven. The worst part about the meat is that everything comes wrapped in butcher paper so we have to unpack everything and put it in foodsaver bags. In the grand scheme of things it’s not bad at all and more importantly we have a well stocked freezer and we know where our next meal is coming from.

Since we know what meat we have now, our veggie shopping is a lot easier as well. We can do our menu for the week and do our veggie shopping on Friday/Saturday at the farmers market and pull what we need from the freezer at the same time. We do our breakfast and lunch food prep on Sunday together and after that we have some wine or a drink on the patio.

So around April 22, Ash started the whole30 diet. I supported her but I didn’t do it with her, I like my beer way too much. But a lot of what she was making was really tasty so I started making my meals more whole30/paleo friendly to support her. She stuck with it, which I’m extremely proud of her for doing, and she lost 11 or 12 pounds and 3 inches. So after her 30 days she did start drinking wine again in moderation but neither one of us has had a real craving for sweets or breads, etc. So I just started doing a regular paleo diet and joined a local crossfit gym. I go 3-4 times a week right now and I can see how it’s addictive to people but my gym is close to my job and not my house. So on days when I telework I don’t make it to the gym.

Taxes and the IRS

So we had a little stumble this week. We received a letter from the IRS saying we owe $2250 in back taxes from 2014.During next tax season we’ll actually refile and hopefully get some of that back, hopefully. The good news is they gave us until 14 November to pay (yeah, not really good). So since I was close to paying off my credit card it looks like I’ll have to put that amount on it. I guess if there is a silver lining it’s that by putting all my paycheck on my card it really did keep from spending money on anything else unless it was a necessity. I’ll keep doing this and I know this will only set me back about 2 months.

For the month of October I put $1,725 towards my card. I did use it, but certainly didn’t use it like it was cash.I also have a $600 payment scheduled for the 1st of November and a $1,000 scheduled for the 4th. Then depending on what I needed to finish it off would’ve been from my paycheck on the 18th. Now it seems like all of my 18th paycheck will go and I’ll just keep chopping away at it.

Awesome time of year

So the weather just started getting cooler which is nice because it means for one, maybe two months, we can keep our windows open instead of running the AC. The AC is one of Ash’s bills but I obviously want to help her as much as possible. We dropped our AT&T for internet and TV and went with Charter. That saved her a little over $100 a month and the cool thing with Charter is that there are no contracts so we can drop them whenever but they locked us into the current rate for 3 years which is unheard of and we can cancel at any time. She also dropped our membership at the gym (which we haven’t used in a while) and another one of her monthly subscription services. All in all she’ll be saving an extra $200 a month now which is awesome.

I’ve been doing really good with my budget and I’ve been knockout out bills and just trying to be healthier and spend more time with the wife and dogs. We actually noticed that by both of us cooking and doing what we’re doing we actually have more quality time together and we’ve been drinking a whole lot less (not that we were bad before). We did go to a local cocktail bar this weekend but limited ourselves to three drinks each. The bartender was super cool and gave us the recipe for one of our favorite drinks on their menu. We had most of the ingredients but still need one before we can make them at the house, but it beats spending $8-$10 a drink down the street.

We did our shopping at Costco this weekend and unfortunately she didn’t have a lot of money in her account at the time so I picked up that huge tab. The total was $240 something but we stocked up on all of our protein for all of our meals for the next month. The main thing that she needs to get or worry about now for meals are the little things. So for breakfast I usually make my eggs in a muffin tin, 1 per tin, that I scramble up before dumping on top of some ham and cheese or sausage and cheese, this week was ham and cheese to use the last of my ham up. So I usually get my hash browns at the store in the refrigerated section but I figured I would try the Golden Grill hash browns that they have at Costco. I was actually really hesitant but when I got home and read the reviews I was really happy, and taste wise they are really good. They are at Costco for $6.99 for the 8 pack and and although it says 7 servings per container I only got 4 servings but that is perfect me. So that comes out to $0.28 a day for me and I got our eggs from Costco as well so my breakfast each day comes out to about $0.60.

With any luck I should be able to get an extra $200-$250 towards my credit card with what I have left after everything is budgeted for.

The Bills

Revolving Debt: $6,445.76 (last month $7,214.93)

Vehicle: $13,056.92 (last month $13,578.77)

House: $190,073.17 (last month $190,908.72)

Total: $209,575.85 (last month $211,703.42)

Difference: $2,127.57

 

 

It will drive you bats, literally

Ash and I have had a great month so far with our budgeting and meal prepping, etc. So our plan yesterday was to go Costco to do some shopping when I got a wild hair to clean the chimney. We bought our house a few years ago and the chimney has been blocked the entire time and in front of the chimney sits an old metal cover pictured below. So we noticed an unpleasant smell coming from the fireplace so I decided to take the cover off and see what was going on. Well the previous owner in all of his wisdom decided to block the chimney with some comforters, plastic rolls, cardboard boxes and a couple of 2×4’s that served no purpose at all. So I had to pull them all of that crap out along with some bat poop that was at the top of that heap. After that we had to go into super clean mode and sanitize everything in the living room, wearing me out and ruining our day.

Our metal cover, looks cool but we’re getting a gas fireplace insert installed so we’ll see how it works this winter as far as it directs heat, etc.

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After that and a shower all I wanted was a beer so we went to our local watering hole and had one beer and some food before I just wanted to go home. My stomach was jacked from 4 cups of coffee and very little for breakfast. Needless to say our day was ruined and I was in bed by 9:30 Saturday night after watching some Star Wars on TV.

So Sunday we planned to do our food preps for the week that included chicken marinated in some chili spices with a side of black beans, spicy Mexican rice, and some grilled peppers and onions. Breakfast was my usual eggs with hash browns. The funny thing with that is everyone loves the smell of the hash browns when I walk back to my desk after I zap my breakfast.

The lunches…delicious and only $3.00 per serving for me and half of that for her since she does half of the rice and chicken.

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Sunday we took the dogs around the corner to a fest that was going on and they loved it. Poor Charlie wore himself out though trying to pull me through the crowd and having the kids pet him. They had a lot of water stations set up for dogs but he was still wiped out. At one point he laid down underneath a bush to chill. After that we took him home and filled up the kiddie pool so he could cool off there.

I’ve found a couple of websites where I’ve seen some families of 4 make all of their meals for the week for $30 which is great but we’re still nowhere close to that. I think since we’re trying to figure out what meals we want to do and what recipes work for meal prepping it will be a little while before we get there.This week was good though we did it fairly cheap.

The month isn’t over yet but we cut our going out for dinner money quite a bit. I spent about $600 less this month than last month and I know she saved even more. I think between us we spent easily $1,000 less than last month on going out. I paid off my Homeowner’s association dues so that $158 a month will go to my snowball and I that will give me $650 a month towards a bill; that should be paid off by December.

I negotiated with AT&T this morning on our cable and internet bill. I had actually signed up for Sling TV and was using the 7 day free trial when we decided we were going to cancel our TV with AT&T when they miraculously dropped our bill by $70 a month for the next year. This works out great because as willing as I was to go to Sling I was really going to miss some of my news channels. I hope in the next year Sling picks up the live news channels, Fox news, MSNBC, etc. Other than that I thought they had a great package selection and we were ready to do it.

Ash was kind of reluctant in the beginning with me watching the money as close as I do. Last night when I figured out what meals were for the week she laughed but when I told her she was paying about 80%-90% less for her lunches she gave a quick acknowledgment. I don’t want us to make sure every penny is accounted for, I just want to make sure we have enough to do the things we want.

So food, bat poop, and a paid off bill. There were highs and lows this month for sure and we still have a few days to go but the wife and I both put $250 each towards principal on the house and I put over $2,000 towards debt this month which accounted for 37% of where my money went. Cool thing is we spend more time together doing more family oriented things now since we cook together, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

The bills

So I didn’t know if I would post this but I just looked at another site and they posted the amounts on their bills so I figured I would do the same. I also think it will help me keep everything going if I have constant reminders that the amount of debt is going down as well.

So we have it broken down by revolving debt plus my homeowners association. Next would be my vehicle and finally the house. This is just my debt and doesn’t include the house with the obvious exception of the house. She has her own debt which I told her I wouldn’t harp on her about paying her stuff down until I made some real headway with my own. Her car is paid off and I think she only has a couple thousand in revolving debt. She makes more than me but with the raise I’ll hopefully be getting in November/December.

The cool thing is that we are both putting $250 a month towards principal on the house. Just by doing that we knock 11 years off of the mortgage but I’ll be snowballing the bills so one year from now I’ll have a huge amount going to the mortgage. I’ll show the amount at the end of the month/after the first off the month.

So here they are, the bills.

Revolving Debt: $7,214.93

Vehicle: $13,578.77

House: $190,908.72

Total: $211,703.42

I have $1200 a month going to revolving debt and my truck and that will get bumped up to $1750 a month in December (hopefully). I am also using Dave Ramsey’s Everydollar app/website and have quite a bit of money left that needs to be budgeted. I plan to save some amount monthly for emergency savings and then put the rest or as much as I feel comfortable with towards my bills.

Crazy to think I could have this paid off in 6-7 years but I’m going to do my best. Since I started this quest last month I really need to see how I’m doing after a full month of working towards the goal. I think one of the big things is that we’ve definitely limited the number of times we’ve gone out to eat or to grab drinks. I’ve spent some more money buying alcohol for the house but it’s nothing compared to what we would spend going out. We’ve also done great this month with food as far as not letting anything go to waste. It seems like a lot of the time we have extras from meals that actually sit in the fridge until they go bad. For instance, we made tacos the other day with flour tortillas and when it was all said and done I had 2 tortillas left that would’ve sat in the fridge for a while. This morning when I made our breakfast I put my eggs and potatoes in the tortillas and had some breakfast tacos that tasted amazing. I have leftover hash browns and those will go get thrown in with my breakfasts for this week or at least the first day or two.

We shopped yesterday for our food and our menu this week includes pork tenderloin for a couple of nights and thai red curry turkey meatballs. A friend that does paleo made these and they looked amazing and since we have a lot of ground turkey we thought it would be cool to do these. For tonight and tomorrow we are doing a grilled chicken that I have brining right now. She likes the white meat and I like the dark so it works out perfect for us. I’ll throw it on the grill later on tonight but I did a lemon pepper brine with garlic, onions and thyme also thrown in.

I really think that is it for this week, quite a bit I know but still working through what I want to put down on here.

 

 

 

 

 

First blog post

This is it, a few weeks ago I decided I no longer wanted to live with a ton of debt so I made a decision to pay off everything including my house in the next 7 years. With any luck this will happen and with some really good luck we may be able to pay it off faster. I talked to my awesome and supportive wife and aside from some anxiety she is on-board with doing this.

So a little bit about us first, we’re a middle-aged married couple with no kids, living in the St. Louis area. We are both employed and have a fair amount of debt. We aren’t living beyond our means but we haven’t done the best when it comes to paying our debt down. My plan is to use a ‘snowball’ approach to paying my debt off and putting money towards principal on the house. When the bills are all paid off that snowball will all rollover to principal and with any luck 7 years from now we’ll own our house outright and have no bills.

For those that don’t know what a ‘snowball’ approach is, that is when you figure out what your monthly minimum payments are for your bills and based on highest percentage or lowest balance (there are excel spreadsheets online that will help you determine) you put an extra amount of money towards that bill to pay it off faster. Once you pay that bill off you take all the money you were using for it and put it towards your next bill. You keep doing this until you pay off all of your bills. In this case our house will be the last bill and we’ll be putting an extra $2,000 towards principal after my first 3 bills are paid off. We love St. Louis but we have no family here so if something else comes up for either one of us job wise we want to have the option to move and take a chance.

Life happens and 7 years is a long a time so there is a buffer in there for both time and money. I’ve actually plotted everything to be done in 6 years but we all know life doesn’t go the way we want it to sometimes. So we’ve both looked at all of our bills and accounted for things like food, gas, entertainment,etc and we still should have a decent amount left over between the both of us. Any extra money saved initially will go into a joint savings account and once we get to a point where we are happy with that any money that is left over will go to the snowball.

So applying extra money to a credit card is easier than most people think. All I had to do was look at my bank account to see where I was spending money. You have no idea how many times you get nickeled and dimed to death a month or how much money you spend on little things. The first thing I did was look to see what auto deductions I had coming out of my account, things like ‘spotify’, ‘netflix’ or ‘dollarbeardclub.com’ (I love my beard). So between these 3 that was $30 a month. We also had all of the pay channels through out cable to include HBO, Showtime, TMC, etc. We didn’t need all of them because we don’t watch movies every night or even every other night. We dropped out package down a level and only kept Showtime for ‘Ray Donovan’. When the season is over we’ll drop that and when Game of Thrones starts up again we’ll order HBO. So just by changing our cable and dropping some subscription services we’re saving $80 a month right there.

The next thing that we have, and the one that hits us the hardest is going out for food and drinks. We don’t go out every night but we go out more than most just because we don’t have kids. It doesn’t seem like a lot because we take turns buying dinner but when you look at it on paper it adds up quick and it is an ugly number. Two adults going out 2-3 times a week, even for something cheap is an extra $300-$400 a month easy. If we lived in a perfect world where we never had a drink then it would be different but 2 adults at 2 drinks a piece every time you go out is an extra $25 every meal easy and we usually do more damage than that.

So this blog is going to be about some money saving tips, some bill paying tips and pretty much regurgitate some of the same stuff you see out there from other folks. I guess the main difference with this blog is that we’re not saving because we need to but because we want to. We’re not going to sacrifice everything we enjoy doing but we’ll be cutting back and using our heads a little more when it comes to how we spend our money. Since this is Thursday you’ll probably see a post his weekend because we’ll be preparing our breakfast and lunch meals for the week and I’ll go ahead and say what we did and how much we spent.

This picture is staying here, it’s the default photo but we’re doing this because my dream is to have a sailboat when we move to Florida and the easiest way to make that happen is to have a house that we buy with cash when we get there.

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