I've created my January budget and would like to share it with you. Suggestions would be appreciated.
Total income: $1726.85
Mortgage (including insurance and property taxes): $307.52
Electricity: $80 (on an even payment schedule)
Water and Sewer: $63.21
Phone, internet and cable: $135.00
Natural Gas: $130.37
Plumbing repair: $25.00
Car payment: $157.32
Car insurance: $31.52
Estimate of gasoline for the car: $20.00
Life insurance: $38.00
Ten medical creditors @ 25$ each: $250 (This is what I am looking to snowball)
Charity (Christian Children's Fund which goes on the Visa and I want to cover it) $58.00
Visa: 2 Dave Ramsey books and stamps:$40.00
Service charge at bank:$9.00
Car repair: $25.00
This leaves me $171.91 for food and any necessities for January. This does not seem like much but I must only take care of myself. I hope I can do it. Maybe you could give me some REALLY cheap recipes. LOL
Archive for December, 2006
I've created my January budget and would like to share it with you. Suggestions would be appreciated.
I have had $505 in my jelly cupboard as my emergency fund. When something would come up and I needed a quick $10 in cash, guess where I would grab it from...and do you think I would remember to replace it? Right!
Today I have gathered all those bills up to deposit when I go to the bank tomorrow and will deposit it to my ING savings account where it will gather interest at the rate of 4.5% (as many of you pointed out to me who know all these things). I am proud of myself for getting it out of the jelly cupboard and on the way to savings. Thank you for helping me see the way.
I actually compared the interest rates on my two new savings accounts......you know, the ones I have been blithering on and on about. I see now that Bank of America's regular savings account had an interest rate of .02+% while ING's rate is 3.4% so I took my paltry savings out of Bank of America and put it into ING. I feel so clever and excited. I wonder if I am thinking correctly. For someone who hasn't saved in years.....can anyone affirm what I have done???????
I had the most wonderful holiday with my family and I hope you all did as well. When you are my age, you will know that nothing is more important than your family. Nothing is forever with family; one of my brothers faces a liver transplant, so there are always concerns. That is why we live as though there are no tomorrows and I try to never "burn a bridge."
For reasons I am not sure of, I have begun to save now in three ways. I've written about buying EE savings bonds and starting a Bank of America regular savings account and because I hear good things about ING I have also begun an account there. As I learn more about what I am doing maybe I will do things differently but for the time being it is all an experiment for me.
I decided to buy Dave Ramsey's book "Total Money Makeover." I bought a used copy on Amazon which came to just over $13.00 with shipping and handling. I immediately covered the credit card charge by paying for it from my bank. I seldom buy books because I am a huge fan of the library but this seemed like one I needed to have. There is also a workbook available as well which I may buy if I need to. I like shopping for books used at Amazon because they are always in great condition when used
despite the lower price.
I am looking forward to 2007 in order to see what I can do financially. You all have been a blessing to me by making me see that I need to keep out of denial, to value the small steps and keeping me straight (most of the time).
I apologize because once or twice I have been a bit "snarky" with some of you who are doing so well, and are totally out of my financial world. Please accept it as the "green-eyed monster" run amok, and I will try to do better.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!
I have been giving throught to my New Years Resolutions for 2007 and have been coming up with a list, in particular financial resolutions.
As a widow of thirteen years I do from time to time get lonely and decide that it is time to join a site for romance such as EHarmony or match.com. It is my resolution not to join such a site next year. They do not work in the first place and I only go on a rollercoaster ride, stirring up my peaceful existence. I am trying to convince myself that I do not need a man at all..........(however, if any of you happen to know a sweet older bachelor, I am all ears......LOL).
Today I gathered up every bill I have that is outstanding. Primarily they are medical bills, with a Visa card also with a $4438.73 balance. The actual total rather than the $18,000 I have been blithering about is really $28,729,74. Big difference, huh? Best to get real, as DrPhil says. I will be paying $400 per month....which means there are almost 72 payments. If I divide that by 12 months that means I should be finished shortly after 6 years. Now I am a 63 year old woman. Maybe on my 70th birthday we can all have a party. I know this is not exact because my Christian Childrens Fund payment goes on the Visa each month.But I am more aware today of what I am up against than I was yesterday. I took every bill......one hospital bill is divided into ten bills and made special sheets for them. I organized them in a "snowball method" with the smallest $44,00 due to be paid first to the largest $5103.00 last. As I said, this is not perfect, but I have a clearer understanding now, sheets to keep track of everything (looks like a small book) and I am ready to go. To celebrate I threw $10.00 into my new Visa savings account; total $35.00 there and my EE bonds equal $25,00 (hahahahahaha). You can see that I really AM a baby doing the baby steps.
I wish I could give. This is what I do and I hope it would be considered giving although it is not much. I hope someone would consider it my trying to observe the seventh step. For quite awhile I have supported two little girls, one in Kenya and one in Brazil, through the Christian Children's Fund. I have chosen this as my outreach. I know that by the world's standards it is probably not enough. It is not a tithe. If I could ever get rid of those medical bills I could do so much better. This $20,000 income is for the birds! But working through CCF warms my heart.
It's like Monopoly. Look at all that money! Not really, but I am trying. I have mentioned my two accounts for saving. My savings account through Bank of America is going to be my Step 3 aacount of 3 months expenses ($25.00 there today) and my EE bonds are going to be my investment account.($25,00 there). Looks like I might have a way to go. When someone asks me what I want for Christmas I greedily say MONEY and I plan to save it. I have my penny jar which has about $30.00 in it and I get change for it by writing my checks at the grocery store up to the next dollar and pocketing (in the jar) my change. This jar may be for flowers in the springtime. I vow never again to charge a March.com kind of lovesite to my Visa. They don't work anyway.....LOL.
Cross your fingers for me that I go forward and do not look back.
I wanted to share with you how inspired I have become by reading this website and other info on the net. I've opened a file on my pc for every good idea I get so that instead of having thoughts floating around in my so-called brain I have it all in one place.
I started buying EE savings bonds (probably not the best idea but so quick to do online and check).......I have Dave's Baby Steps in Front of me. Fortunately for me, I don't need to do Step 5 the college step, but step 2, paying off all debt by the snowball method may well take about 12 years due to those medical bills. Step 3, getting three months worth of savings is going to be a good trick, too. But I feel a real committment and like anyone who needs constand support I know I will rely on you.
Thank you again.
For those of you who celebrate these holidays as the birth of Christ I would like to make the suggestion that during your shopping whether on a main street or a mall that you take the time to see the movie, "The Nativity Season." It will put into focus for you the reason for this sublime time of the year. It may be a bit difficult to bring together the birth of Christ with the crazy flurry of the season, but the movie will be well worth the ticket money. It takes a bit of getting into as the dialects become familiar and you identify the characters. At this point noisy kids in the back row of the theatre here were making a racket. But by the time Joseph and Mary were making their long journey to Bethlehem, the Wise Men were adding their characters to the production, and finally the birth as Joseph assists Mary you will be as still as churchmice. And the music is so lovely and sad too even the carol "Lully, Lullay" during the slaughter of the innocent children.
It is only a suggestion, but it has brought the season home to me so strongly.
I am ornery today; I just have to admit it. My parttime work teaching mentally challenged adults does not bring in substantial income. There is no bonus because this type of work often just doesn't have bonuses. I received an email from my supervisor telling me that all of the Adult Basic Education teachers in this area will be taking a Christmas vacation from Dec. 21 through Jan. 2. Since I am not paid when I do not work, (no PTO), not only do I receive no bonus but lose several days of work which does not exactly help my income. I am too depressed to figure out the loss, but what was meant for good....a nice vacation.....is going to make it tough to pay for heating early next year. Thank you for letting me vent. I guess I am just tired tonight.
I know there is a malvolent little demon out there with my name on his T-shirt who just happened to notice that I was really going to try hard to be more fiscally responsible. Joining this blog, doing the baby steps, and starting my Bank of America savings account tickled him so much that he had to fiddle with the throttle position sensor on my "new to me" car. When the throttle body was removed screws did something I do not understand and die had to be run on threads (whatever that is) to restore them. Thus I have a new bill of $136.81 which the garage assures me was the best they could do, giving me parts at cost nd labor at a lower rate than usual.
To my little demon....you'd better look out!!!!!! I'll get you back!!!
When I went to work today I found two hamburger buns on my table. I said, "What the heck are these?" My dear coworker said, "They are to remind you that I put maidrite (sloppy joe) stuff in the frig for you and some cheesy potatoes." Yippee! There is nothing I love more. Then on coming home from work there was a biscuit and gravy on my counter. Another friend had played Christmas elf. I was so pleased because my meals were "free" today. I think the point I want to make is that if I were not financially challenged I would not have felt the gratitude for these simple gifts so keenly. But I felt the kindness of my friends strongly and I did not take these meals for granted. I once had a next door neighbor say to me, "We don't bother with our leftovers, just toss them out." I am sure they never enjoyed a meal as I enjoyed mine today.
I know, I know, this is my third visit on this my first day. But I am excited. I just put a bit of money into a Bank of America savings account which is pretty good for me, since I haven't had a savings account in years. You all have inspired me.
Now I have a question. Someone mentioned Dave Ramsey so I went to his website hoping for information. But everything costs.......he has a Christmas special for something like $89.95. This is the kind of thing that will get me whipping out my credit card, but before I am too impulsive I would like to know if others have paid for this program and if it is worth it. It would have to be pretty special for me to get ahead with a program because I think I am doing mostly what I can. I am very aware of my expenditures and do not have a lot of wiggle room. I know we are to have emregency funds, etc. Have any of you used his program and did you find it worth the money?
This is my first day on the Personal Finance Website and already several dear people have written to encourage me when I posted my first blog earlier today. I might actually find this to be fun! I am looking at Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps and I have $609.00 in my emergency fund. I have been using the debt snowball technique to pay off the medical creditors and am just a month or two away from paying off two of them. I simply want to thank those of you who took the time to comment to me earlier. You have no idea how good it feels. My family and friends really do not want to hear about my medical debt because they really feel as powerless as I do about it. But I know that I can talk to you and you will support me. Thank you, friends!
I have been reading your blogs for some time now and enjoy them very much. I've felt your pain, and yes, ----felt some jealousy at your success!! (Please forgive me).
I am a 63-year old widow on Social Security and I have a parttime job teaching mentally challenged adults which I enjoy very much.
Unfortunately I am unable to buy medical insurance due to a condition which disallows me from buying any. A year ago I had two surgeries, a D and C, and by for worse, a colon resection due to diverticulitis. I had been pleased without myself for being able to live on $20,000 previous to these surguries, but now life seems like a nightmare. I pay ten creditors $25.00 per month in addition to having to buy a used car (my last one literally blew up). I have heard from horrible creditors and have learned to deal with them, but I know I will never live long enough to pay off the approximately $18,000 I still owe. I assume that when I die this debt will be paid from the sale of my house. If anyone has faced the dreariness of a situation I would like to hear about it, in particular, how you stay upbeat about it all. In the meantime, thank you for all the enjoyment you have given me as I have read your blogs and I am looking forward to the friendships developed here.