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October 26th, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Looks like I haven't posted since March.

We've gotten ourselves into a CC debt problem again. It's about 11K. Hard to believe I let it happen again.

The debt is all on one card, and as of right now, at 8.9% interest. As long as I don't miss any payments, it will stay at 8.9%.

It's also maxed out, or close to it. So, as long as we don't start charging up another card, which I don't think we'll do, it will stay at 11K or less.

That's it for now. But, I'll get active here again.

Response to my request

February 26th, 2015 at 01:37 pm

After my post yesterday about the negative entries on my credit report, doingitallwrong suggested I send a letter to my creditors asking for a goodwill removal of the negatives from my credit history.

I have an ongoing relationship with one of the creditors, our credit union, where we have taken out two car loans over the past three years. I logged on to the CU site, and sent an e-message asking if they would remove the negatives. I based my letter on a template found on a link provided by doingitallwrong. Here's the response I received:

Thank you for contacting Credit Union via eMessage. We appreciate you taking the time to message us with your request. We greatly appreciate your membership with Credit Union and are happy to hear you have had such a positive experience with us. Although I am able to confirm you have had a very positive payment history with us in the recent past we are not able to reverse or remove late payments reported to the credit agencies unless they were reported in error. If the payments were reported late and it was not the result of an error on our part we are obligated to report them and are not able to remove them. Although we are not able to accommodate your request and remove late payments from your payment history, I would like to assure you that your credit history only reflects the last two years of your payment history. As the payments referenced in your previous message were between the years 2008 and 2011 they should no longer be reporting on your credit. If you have any additional questions or if we can assist you with anything else you are always welcome to contact us …

I struck out.

There is one other CC that has reported negatives. I cancelled that card a long time ago. I have no idea what my account number was. I do have a mailing address that appeared on my credit report, but the above mentioned credit union at least has the incentive of keeping my happy because of my continued business. The other company (Bank of America) really has no incentive to make or keep me happy. So, I doubt that I'll send a request to them.

There was really no harm nor foul in sending the request to the credit union.

Credit Maintenance

February 25th, 2015 at 07:23 am

I pulled my credit report yesterday. I don't pull my report often enough. I know that you can get a free report form each of the three companies once per year. So the best strategy is to pull each of the three every four months. I just don't do it often enough. It's probably been 12-18 months since I last pulled it.

What I've done is recorded the date and reporting company in the same spread sheet where I keep my budget, balance sheet, and amortization schedules. That way I can keep better track of when and where I pulled my last report, and keep on a better schedule.

I have a total of 17 negatives, from two credit companies on my report. The first has a string of 11 negatives ranging from May 2009 - March 2010, where I was 30 - 120 days past due. The other has a string from August 2008 - November 2008 where I was 30 - 90 days past due, plus March 2010, and October 2010 where I was 30 days past due. Note that I started becoming active on the SA forums around October 2010.

If negatives stay on a report for seven years, my first string of four will start dropping August through November this year. May of next year through March 2017 will see the end of the entire string from the other card, and the last negative will drop off October 2017. But, that's a long time from now.

According to my current Discover card statements, my credit score hovers between 720 and 725 any given month. It will be interesting to see how my score comes in as these negatives drop.

I also did something I should have done a long, long time ago. There were three open accounts listed that I don't use. One was a credit card I no longer use, one was a store card I opened when I bought a suit at a department store, and the third was an Amazon card I opened two Christmases ago. I called today, and had each of those accounts closed. We'll see what that does to my score.

This credit report monitoring is something I think I can and will keep up on from now on.

A Fresh Start

December 4th, 2014 at 09:28 am

I'm going to kind of start this blog over, right where I started it in April 2011. At or near the beginning of each month, I would list my debts. I set different debt reduction goals for myself along the way, and I tried to use this blog to keep myself accountable. My situation isn't nearly as dire as it was four years ago, but that formula seemed to work well.

Last time I reported in the blog, about a month and a half ago, Oct. 24, my credit card balance was $4,361. The current (not really current, I just now made the payment on-line, and it won't post til 5:00, but I'm going with it as current) balance is $4,149. My total debts are (debt, interest rate, balance)

Mortgage 2.25% $40,037
Truck 3.99% $4,568
Credit Card 19.99% $4,149
Total Debt $48,754

My only goal at this point is that I owe less on each account than I did the previous month.

I'm still toying with the idea of transferring that CC debt to a 0.00% intro rate card, but I'm not really sure I want to play that game again.

Last time I blogged, I mentioned a freelance job my DW had. For the first time in about 12 years of serious freelance work, DW has been stiffed for payment - about $2,000. The worst part of it is that she had recruited her sister, and a friend of ours from college to work with her, and they got stiffed too. Live and learn, but really after 12 years, it seems like a pretty good record.

October Financial Reflections

October 1st, 2013 at 07:31 am

For the past couple of years I've done some extra financial reflection in the month of October. It was three years ago this month that we finally woke up, and started to pay serious attention to our finances.

A couple things happened that month. DW received a freelance check (that was in the days before four kids, and she did some freelance work). I think it was a couple thousand dollars. We also had our second of three sets of renters move into the our for sale house. I think the house had been vacant since July or August - a couple months anyway. We were also about $450 past due on one of our CCs. That CC had a whopping 32.99% APR.

Within the same week that we received DW's freelance check, we received a letter from the above mentioned CC. The CC company (Advanta) was offering us a deal - if we paid the $450 that we were past due, they would cut our interest rate to 16.99%. We jumped on the deal, and sent the check that day. Advanta kept their end of the bargain, and cut our interest rate. Most of the rest of DW's freelance check went to various other debts.

That bit of momentum got the ball rolling for us. I dug in, and totaled all our CC balances, compared the balances to each card's interest rate, and realized that (after the $450 payment, and interest rate cut on the one CC), we would still be paying very nearly $200 per month in CC interest alone.

The first step I opted to take was to find a 0% APR transfer to a new CC. My credit score was in a shambles, and I didn't qualify for a new card at that time. Another thought I had was to borrow against my retirement fund. I actually went to a bank, and picked up the forms to apply for the loan. I think they were offering an 8.99% APR on the loan. I don't remember for sure, but I may have filled out the paperwork, but I never did submit it.

That previous August, I had stumbled upon the SA forums when my mom and dad had a question for me about retirement savings. I had asked the question for them, and passed on the answers, and never did return to SA until I was faced with the question - should I borrow against my retirement fund to pay off CC debt (or, shift unsecured debt to a lower APR with my retirement fund as collateral, to be more precise). Thankfully I asked the question, and thankfully the forum regulars steered me away from that choice.

DW did qualify for a 0% APR 3% balance fee card that next January. The limit was $750. We transferred that, minus the 3% fee, and ended up doing two more balance transfers until the Advanta debt was paid off this past January.

It would be another six months before I found the Blog side of this site, and those of you who have been following my blog for most of the pat 2 1/2 years know the rest of the story in gory detail.

You also know that we've stumbled at times, and have had help along the way. But, as I remember that seemingly unbearable, rocky mountain that we faced three years ago, I can't believe that we've turned it around.

The very generous gift

August 7th, 2013 at 06:21 am

This past weekend, my in-laws gifted my wife $30,000. For more background on the gift see my most recent post in the forums.

Steps that have been taken so far:

The checks were deposited into our account on Monday.

The credit card was completely paid off this morning.

We scheduled the builder to begin work on our back porch today. It is raining.

We scheduled an appointment with an attorney to set up special needs trusts for our boys. We'll be meeting with the attorney this Friday afternoon.

Our emergency fund is housed at DW's home-town bank, and that transfer has not been made yet.

Our girls already have 529's set up, but we have not allocated any new funds toward them.

I received some good advice from my forum post. We may pay off the truck (10K) and set up an automatic monthly payment for a Roth IRA for DW for the amount that had been going to the truck payment.

Still not sure exactly how everything will be spent and allocated. It will not be spent on a luxury car or a Caribbean cruise.

$30,000 represents a bit more than half of my annual salary. Heck, 10 years ago, I wasn't even making 30K in one year. I (we) are overwhelmed by the generosity of this gift. It gives us the flexibility to attend to some savings goals that have been sorely neglected, as well as make some needed improvements around the homestead.

Three Year Debt Comparison

April 8th, 2013 at 12:19 pm

April 1, 2011 Total Debt - $202,374
April 1, 2012 Total Debt - $187,077
April 1, 2013 Total Debt - $178, 952

$ Change - 2011 to 2012 = $15,297
$ Change - 2012 to 2013 = $8,125
$ Change - 2011 to 2013 = $23,422

I borrowed money for a pickup purchase in December; that's the major reason total debt didn't go down as much 2012 -2013.

April 1, 2011 CC Debt - $18,980
April 1, 2012 CC Debt - $8,931
April 1, 2013 CC Debt - $914

$ Change - 2011 to 2012 = $10,049
$ Change - 2012 to 2013 = $8,017
$ Change - 2011 to 2013 = $18,066!

This shows that we moved a lot faster when there was a gun to our heads.

In the next year, we're scheduled to pay off:
$914 CC Debt
$11,947 Mortgage Debt
$3,790 Truck Debt
$16,651 Total Projected Debt Payoff

I'll take a look in a year to see how actual compares. We're not planning on any new borrowing this year.
It might not be any different than whats projected. After CC debt is all taken care of, my big question will be whether we should accelerate truck payoff, or beef up savings. I'll address that later.

April CC Debt Update

April 1st, 2013 at 06:10 am

April 1 CC Debt:

CC1 - $457.00
CC2 - $456.59
Total CC Debt - $913.59

March 1 CC Debt:

CC1 - $630
CC2 - $549
Total CC Debt - $1,179

Month to Month Difference = $265.41

We have less than 1K CC debt for the first time in forever.

Debt reduction beyond minimum due = $110.41.

The minimum due on CC1 has plateaued now. It's always been 2% of the balance. Since the balance hit $750, the new minimum due is $15 per month, and will stay there until it's paid off. Not that that matters. I'll continue to pay off well more than the minimum, but it's kind of a neat milestone.

Our progress has slowed. There are a lot of demands for our money right now. I project that in the month of April we'll spend just shy of $7 in interest on credit cards.

March CC Debt Update

March 1st, 2013 at 06:08 am

(Well, now I've had the "I had my post written out and it didn't post problem. Let's try this again.)

CC1 Balance (8.9% APR) - $630
CC2 Balance (5.25% APR) - $594

Total CC Debt - $1,224. A lot better than 2 1/2 years ago.

Still planning on having CC debt paid on Sept. 1, or before.

CC2 is on a fixed payment plan. What happened is that three years ago we were woefully past due on the account. I have no idea what the interest rate was, other than it was high. The company (Bank of America) cut us a deal. They lowered the int. rate to 5.25%, and raised the payment to a permanent $140 per month. We've made a $140 payment every single month since. So, it will be paid off on Aug. 1. Actually, the Aug 1 payment will be about $40. So, we'll send an extra $100 to CC1 that month, and the balance on CC1 should be low enough on Sept. 1 to pay it off. If it's not already paid off.

We still have that triple priority of paying down CC debt, saving to rebuild the back porch, and saving to make sure our short sale house sells. The back porch fund should be set by the end of this month.

(So, I just copied this post in case its lost again.)

Taxes are filed

February 19th, 2013 at 12:44 pm

We filed our taxes yesterday. I did some looking, and determined that IRS was ready for returns that claimed depreciation. Apparently they've been ready for the better part of a week.

We got notification that IRS accepted our return. Now we just wait for the refunds. I didn't write down exact values, but our federal refund is around $3,400 and our state refund is around $500.

When we receive our refunds, we'll submit an amended return that includes our adoption credit. Our adoption credit is about $1,200. The reason we're filing an amended form is that it will take longer to get our adoption credit.

Lots of places for the money to go. No problem there. We're still waiting for a bid on our porch improvement, and I would like some of it to go to CC debt. And, of course, we would like to have some reserves if needed to cover costs associated with selling our house.

Various Stuff

February 4th, 2013 at 06:35 am

Sometimes I see a particularly good quote on the top of the SA banner that I've never seen before. I like this one: "No-one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions. He had money as well." - Margaret Thatcher. Where do they get all those quotes?

Beginning of the month CC payments have been posted. remaining balance on CC#1 = $929.00 (8.9% APR), and remaining balance on CC#2 = $726.52 (5.25% APR), for a grand total of $1,655.52.

We didn't do anything special for the Super Bowl. I took our boys down to my folks house to watch it. My folks are in Florida for a couple of months, and we're watching their house for them while they're gone. I quit watching during the power outage. I didn't spend any extra money at all on Superbowl Sunday.

Our taxes are completed, but not filed. We claim depreciation on our for sale/rental house. IRS is apparently not ready to accept any returns that claim depreciation. I suppose we could file without the Schedule E, and file an amended form later. But, we were already going to file an amended return with our Adoption Credit claim. We're expecting a $1,200 AC. We could file now, and include both the Schedule E, and the AC on the amended form, or file two amended forms, or just wait for the depreciation thing to work itself out, and file our 1040 + Schedule E, and then the amended with the AC. That last option is the one we're opting for right now.

The reason that we're definitely waiting on the AC is that you cannot file the AC electronically. You need to file that via mail, because they IRS requires proof of adoption, and they look at AC returns very closely. Last year, we filed the AC as an amended return. We got our regular refund quickly, and our AC in August.

The AC in non refundable this year. Last year it was fully refundable. I'm not sure how long we will have to claim the credit. Five years? We've looked, but as far as we know, IRS has not released that information yet.

Most likely (if we do end up selling our house in 2013), we will be able to claim the unused potion all next year, because we expect to owe a butt-load of tax due to the short sale property not being our primary residence.

A minor delay

January 28th, 2013 at 06:21 am

I had set up a very aggressive CC debt payoff plan that would have had us out of CC debt by April. I'm afraid it will have to remain just that - a plan.

As most of you know we have a house we are desperately trying to sell. We came to the realization that we might need to have significant cash reserves to actually get the house sold.

I had mentioned that the current buyer has made an offer backed by a USDA Rural Development loan. USDA RD loans have some hoops to jump through that can require the owners to make improvements before the house is sold - things like replacing worn carpeting, sufficient rain gutters, energy efficiencies, etc. Also, it's not unrealistic to expect that we may have to cover some closing costs for the buyer, or the bank may require that we bring some cash to the close.

So, we've set a goal of $4,000 in cash reserves to finally get this monkey off our back. Where will this cash come from? We'll have to slow down CC repayment. For now, anyway.

So, I've set up a new CC repayment projection that has CCs paid off by next October. It will cost a grand total of $35 in additional interest, over having the CCs paid off in April.

Of course we'll be probably be getting income tax refunds that will help build this reserve, but we're also saving for that porch improvement.

So, until we know how much our tax refund is, when we will actually close on the house, and how much our porch improvements will cost, we'll be going with this October CC debt payoff plan.

Mid Month Ramblings

January 23rd, 2013 at 07:51 am

The negotiations with the short sale continue. I'm the pessimist, and lean toward thinking this deal is dead. DW is the optimist (and a better negotiator than I), and knows that this is how the game is played. Still, I believe that this deal has a less than 50% chance of closing. The negotiations are between our bank, and the buyer, so we just sit back and watch at this point.

A number that I've not reported on in a while is my credit card debt to retirement savings ratio. That's a number that I (to my knowledge) made up a while back. Seven years ago, that number was 100%, we owed about 30K in credit debt, and my retirement savings was about $30K. In August 2011, that number was 20%. My retirement savings was 5 times greater than my credit card debt.

Today that ratio is 1.66%. For every dollar I have in credit card debt, I have about $60 in retirement savings. I know that the number is meaningless. It's not as if I'm using my retirement savings as collateral against credit cards.

But, I still remember that day seven years ago, when I realized that CC debt was equal to retirement savings. That was one eye opening experience. And, ever since, I've used it as sort of a personal proxy of financial health. I also like it, because it tells two stories - decrease in CC debt as well as increase in retirement savings.

The debt snowball

January 17th, 2013 at 01:00 pm

This debt snowball thing is kind of fun when the snowball gets big, and starts crushing all the debt by its self. It takes a long time to get the snowball rolling, but it feels as if we've just gotten it to a size where we've pushed it down the hill, and gravity is taking care of the rest.

When we first started this quest, my idea was to follow more of a Dave Ramsey approach, and pay off debts by balance, smallest to largest. My greatest fear was losing an income source, like rent. My thought was that if one or two of the smaller debts were gone, we'd have an easier time making minimum payments on the remaining debts, if we lost an income source.

I ended up following the advice of the majority in the SA community, and tackled the debt by APR, highest to lowest. Of course, that makes most sense from a purely financial perspective - least amount of interest paid.

During the last two years, our income has remained steady. Actually, it's increased a bit. So, it turns out that highest to lowest APR has been the way to go. I can still see merit to both methods. If anyone who is reading this is trying to decide which order to tackle your debt, you're not going to hear a strong argument from me either way. OK, I chose highest to lowest APR, so clearly, that's my preferred method. That method also keeps your nose to the grindstone longer, because the individual accounts don't fall away as quickly, and you're forced to pay more money toward debt each month.

Anyway, three and a half months from now, we should be done with all of it! That's when the real discipline starts.

529 Plans

January 11th, 2013 at 06:32 am

We deposited some money into our girl's 529 college savings plans. We opened a 529 for each of our girls when they were born. They both have pathetic balances.

The money we deposited this month was money that each of them have earned through their 4-H livestock projects. We deposited $1,900 into DD1's account, and $200 into DD2's account. DD1 has been showing and selling 4-H animals for three years, and this was DD2's first year.

Once we get the CC problem taken care of, college savings is yet another financial reality we will have to face. In 8 short years, DD1 will be ready. Ouch.

My Year-to-Year net worth percentage change

January 7th, 2013 at 05:26 am

I have solid net worth figures for Jan. 1, 2012 and Jan. 1, 2013. I had to do some financial forensic work to come up with a Jan. 1, 2011 value. I hadn't started posting here by then. The asset side is fairly solid, but the liability side is an estimate.
What I came up with is:

2011 net worth percentage increase = 19.6%
2012 net worth percentage increase = 78.9%

My retirement portfolio is my asset of greatest value. Thus, the performance of those funds greatly influences the change in net worth. 2011 was a crappy investment year, and 2012 was a better year.

And, of course, there is rapid debt payoff. While I was probably paying off debt a bit more aggressively in 2011, in 2012 much more of my payments went
toward principal, rather than interest.

I couldn't help myself. I projected my Jan. 1, 2014 net worth, based on projected decrease in debt plus monthly contributions to retirement, no asset growth. My projected net worth percentage increase for 2013 is about 32%.

I'll come back here in a year, and see how I did.

I'm Back

January 4th, 2013 at 07:04 am

I've been gone for a few months, but with a new year, I thought I'd get started back up again.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas (or Happy Hanukkah), and a Happy New Year!

Despite holiday spending, we've managed to pay down quite a bit of credit card debt. Our current total is $1,963. Down from $4,587 in October. My goal remains total payoff next May.

We've also decided on our 2013 house project. We need something done with our back porch. My MIL is disabled, and has a great deal of difficulty entering our house the way it is. Also, it just plain looks very bad. We'll hopefully be getting a bid next week for a spring/summer project, but for now we're planning on saving $800 per month.

Just yesterday, I also began contributing an additional 1% of my salary per month to my retirement plan. I'll increase that again once the CCs are paid off. For those of you who may have been following my thread on the forums, I decided to stick with my employer, rather than the Roth. There were no transaction fees.

No Balance Transfers For You!

November 1st, 2012 at 05:31 am

I have 2 high interest CCs. Really, at this point, I have one. CC1 is at 8.9%. CC3 is at 0.0% at the moment, and set to jump up to 23.99% at the end of December. So, that's why I say 2. One is high now, and the other will be high soon.

I'm at the point that if I transferred the balances of both CCs to a new 0.0 card, that the 3 or 4% balance transfer fee would be about a wash. The cost of the balance transfer would be about the same as I project we would spend on interest. So, we'll tough it out, and pay the balances as soon as is reasonable.

We are in a bit of a cash flow crunch this month. We paid property taxes and paid for new license tags and new driver's licenses today (we both have November birthdays). And, I'm expecting to fill the heating fuel tank this month or early next month. So, the payoff of CC3 might not happen before the end of the year. We should have it paid off by January, or February at the latest. But, it looks as if I'll be paying that ridiculous interest rate on some of the balance. Then, we can concentrate on CC1.

What a difference two years makes

October 3rd, 2012 at 10:44 am

I dug up CC information that I included in my first blog post. It includes information from Nov. 2010. I compared it to our current credit card balances, and monthly due. The bottom line is that during the past two years, we have paid off a whopping $17.9K in CC debt!

Two years ago, we were obligated to pay a minimum of $990 toward CC debt. And, $190 was paid in interest. This month, we will pay $24 in CC interest, and that's still too much.

Two of our CCs have been paid off. A third was at 16.99% two years ago, and its balance has been transferred to three different 0.00% cards. Another CC had its APR dropped from 12.9% to 8.9%. Our income is up a bit, and we have had reliable renters for about 22 1/2 of those months, so clearly that's a big part of the solution. But, just as clearly, gaining control of where the dollars flow is huge.

October Debt Update

October 2nd, 2012 at 05:20 am

Mort 1 $101,946
Mort 2 $65,660
CC1 $2,295
CC2 $1,251
CC4 $1,041

Difference from last month: $844.

Not great, but I did stick $500 into our EF. Also, have I mentioned that CC3 is paid in full?

I've got the rest of October, plus Nov. and Dec. to get CC4 paid off before the crushing 23.99% APR hits. I'll be making minimum payments on CC1 (8.9% APR) until that happens. Then, all efforts will be made to slay CC1 by next March.

End of month ramblings

September 27th, 2012 at 07:49 am

Tomorrow is the final work day of the month, so it's pay day. October also marks the anniversary of my family's becoming serious about turning finances around. This October will mark two years. Two years ago, we had about 24K in unsecured credit card debt. Now, we have about 5K. Paradoxically, it's much harder to allocate the same amount of money to debt reduction, because we had no choice two years ago. Our minimum monthly required on CC debt was about $750 two years ago, and now it's $250.

So, we keep plugging along, with the goal of having all credit card debt retired in May, 2013.

One of my CCs will also be retired after the October payment clears! At its height, it was a $9,770 debt. I might buy a 20 oz. Mountain Dew to celebrate.

September Debt Update

September 4th, 2012 at 09:00 am

Current balances on all outstanding debts:

Mort 1 $102,153
Mort 2 $65,870
CC1 $2,324
CC2 $1,387
CC3 $194
CC4 $1,109

Difference from last month: $1,118!

CC3 will be paid off next month, then that payment will be shifted to CC4, to be paid off before the end of the year.

My total credit card interest expense for the month will be $24. Less than a dollar a day. I'm really happy with that number. My goal is for it to be zero by next June.

My Retirement Fund

August 17th, 2012 at 09:50 am

My retirement fund is at six digits. Today. And, just barely. I was close the last time the markets boomed, but didn't quite get there.

A year ago, I reported on this blog that for every dollar I had invested in retirement, I owed 20 cents in credit card debt. Today, for every dollar I have invested in retirement, I owe 6 cents in credit card debt. Six years ago, that was a one to one ratio.

On the personal side, my youngest daughter sprained her ankle a couple of days ago. I took her to a playground while DW was at an appointment. It isn't a very nice playground, and the traffic compacted track around the merry-go-round has tree roots growing in it. She tripped on one of the tree roots. So, it just goes to show that there is a reason for the extreme and expensive safety measures at the modern play grounds.

August Debt Update

August 10th, 2012 at 06:07 am

August 2012 Debt
Mort 1 $102,359
Mort 2 $66,080
CC1 $2,384
CC2 $1,522
CC3 $387
CC4 $1,508
Van Loan $0

Difference from June = $10,139. Thank you Adoption Credit!

My current focus is to retire CC4 before December 31, when it shoots up to 22.99% APR. I'll have to make average monthly payments of $377 to make that happen.


August 6th, 2012 at 06:45 am

We cancelled our TV satellite service about two years ago. We cancelled it because we could no longer afford to pay a monthly TV bill and reduce debt.

We're in a much better financial state than we were two years ago. We can now afford to pay a monthly TV bill, and continue to make substantial steps toward reducing debt. The question is - should we?

We have found life without TV to be not only acceptable, but in many ways preferable. The kids no longer fight about what's on the TV. The TV is not constantly on, rotting our brains. We have an extra $60 per month to allocate somewhere else. Most of what's on TV is crap anyway.

We are missing the Olympics. And I miss the Big 10 network and NCAA tournament coverage most of all (Go MSU!). And sometimes, if used properly, it can give you a parenting break. (The same old DVDs get tiring after a while).

So, we're considering whether or not we should re-up with our satellite TV service. And, getting the cheapest, most basic service is not appealing to me Like I said, the Big 10 network is part of the deal.

What do you all think?

Adoption Credit

August 2nd, 2012 at 10:53 am


I've been inactive for quite some time, but I wanted to let you all know that our 13K federal adoption tax credit arrived in the mail this week, with interest. We deposited it, and the check cleared yesterday. Today we paid bills! $2,500 went to pay off our new front porch, $2,000 went to one of the credit cards, $5,000 paid off our van, $2,200 went to family members for Mort 2, and the rest went to our EF. Sure feels good!

Some of you may be tempted to critique how the money was spent. Please don't. (ie, more should have gone toward high interest credit cards) This was a balance of my wishes, DW's wishes, and sending money to family members with whom we have loans. Trust me, I know that paying off higher interest accounts makes more purely financial sense, but we feel an obligation to accelerate progress on family loans.

June Debt Update

June 4th, 2012 at 05:34 am

Here are the numbers for June.

June 2012 Debt
Mort 1 $102,768
Mort 2 $68,950
CC1 $2,470
CC2 $1,791
CC3 $771
CC4 $2,408
Van Loan $5,221

Difference from May debt: $1,517.

CC4 remains unchanged from previous update because I don't pay that at the first of the month.

I took a big whack out of CC1.

CC3 is melting away. Part of me wants to pay it off just to be done with it. But it's at a fairly low rate (5.23%) compared to CC1 at 8.9%. The math says wait, but the heart says pay it off.

The advantage to paying off CC3 is that it would (after it's paid off) increase monthly cash flow by $194, and if something happened (like lose a renter) that cash flow would come in handy.

CC Debt Payoff Projection

May 31st, 2012 at 08:35 am

I made a quick projection of one scenario of what a CC debt payoff projection may look like. It assumes around $520 per month paid toward CC debt principal. It could get paid faster or slower than that, but this projection shows all CC debt paid off September 2013. That's 16 months from now.

We started getting very serious about CC debt reduction 20 months ago. That means we're on the downward slope (I hope anyway). Here's my projection:

Date CC Debt
2012 Jun $7,346
2012 Jul $6,826
2012 Aug $6,305
2012 Sep $5,783
2012 Oct $5,259
2012 Nov $4,740
2012 Dec $4,219
2013 Jan $3,695
2013 Feb $3,194
2013 Mar $2,689
2013 Apr $2,180
2013 May $1,659
2013 Jun $1,142
2013 Jul $625
2013 Aug $108
2013 Sep $-

I'm fairly certain the debt will get attacked faster than that. And, of course, each month more money goes toward principal, and less toward interest. But, I wanted to have some sort of end date in mind, without spending too much time over analyzing things.

May Debt Update

May 30th, 2012 at 09:48 am

I'm late this month (almost a month late) because I've been busy with work. But here are the numbers:

May 2012 Debt
Mort 1 $102,970
Mort 2 $69,160
CC1 $3,059
CC2 $1,925
CC3 $961
CC4 $2,408
Van Loan $5,413

Debt reduced by $1,181.

I wasn't as aggressive this month on debt repayment, mostly because I was busy with work, and couldn't spend the time figuring out what I should pay, so I winged it a bit. Our checking account shows it, too. Our end of month balance is about $1,100.

Nice to see CC3 down to triple digits, and CC2 below the 2K mark. As things quiet down at work, I can spend a bit more time allocating payments toward debt.

Hopefully I can post my June debt update in a week or so.

Hope everyone is enjoying their spring. It sure was hot over Memorial Day.

Revised debt repayment goal

April 3rd, 2012 at 06:16 am

Yesterday when I updated my monthly debt progress, I upped my monthly debt retirement goal from $1,000 to $1,050.

I was thinking about how that $1,050 number was pretty much pulled out of thin air. I didn't base it on anything other than my gut feeling that it was an amount I thought I could handle without stretching myself too much. I thought I should base that figure on something real. Like, my average monthly debt retirement over the past year. I've already confessed to over-analyzing things.

So, I went through my monthly debt retirement figures over the past year. I omitted the month where I got my tax refund, and I averaged the remaining months. And it turns out I came up with $1,052. Darn close to what my gut feeling was yesterday.

Is it really a good goal to match last years debt retirement? Probably not. So, I will set a new goal. My new goal is to pay off debt at a rate of 5% more than last year's average - or $1,105 per month principal payment.

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