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Payday Update

August 30th, 2019 at 11:38 am

Got paid today. Yay! I love payday. Quick updates:

1. Paid $1400 towards the last credit card. Looking forward to being done with this card in December.

2. Paid $233.46 extra to mortgage bringing it to a nice even $2000 payment. Every little extra bit counts.

3. Added $200 to EF

4. Sent in my taxes for the 3rd quarter.

5. Got a $40 gift for my friend who came by and helped water my garden while I was gone, put out the trash, let the meter reader in, etc.

I calculated how much SE income I actually lost while I was gone. $2080.18 in gross, but I save 40% to go towards taxes, so would have lost $1248.11 net. I will adjust my budget for the 2nd half of Sept, and the 1st half of Oct to reflect this.

I contacted all the people who wanted to see the old car while I was gone and let them know that I was back and could show them the car. No response yet. Maybe they all found other cars. Hopefully I will get a few more people interested.

True to what I had promised myself, I am trying to take better care of my health. For the last two days, I have been eating low-carb (I have diabetes), and I am certainly feeling the withdrawals - not so much in terms of hunger, but in cravings, and some headaches. I plan to do some meal-prep this coming week, and also will go for a walk and maybe a hike if it's not too hot or humid.

Waffling

August 11th, 2019 at 10:46 pm

I am going back and forth trying to decide if I should buy a newer car sooner or wait till next year. My car's tags expire in November, and I don't want to renew them just for another few months more. I saw a posting for a car in town that looks good. $7000. 2012 Kia Soul. 90K miles. Claims to be a single owner. It's too late at night to call. I'll call tomorrow and see if it's still available. I am so indecisive.

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I was buying something on Amazon and decided to apply for the Amazon Prime Visa Card. Was approved, and got a $70 Amazon Gift card instantly. It gives you 5% cashback on Amazon Prime purchases. I've seen it promoted for years, but never applied.

I froze my credit after the Equifax breach. Unfroze it when I started to look for houses so I could apply for a mortgage. I plan on re-freezing it again, so glad I got approved for this card. I don't need to keep my credit unfrozen any longer.

To-do list items for August are to apply for the Equifax settlement claim, and also to freeze my credit with all three bureaux.

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It was a relatively inexpensive weekend. I spent $40.06 on groceries.

Did some meal-prep for the week. It's going to be a super busy week, and it will be wise to have lunches and dinners ready. I have one work dinner that I think I can stretch into two meals. I also have one lunch planned with a coworker this week. The rest of the meals will be homemade, hopefully.

I made some zuchhini lasagne, but it was too watery. I tried salting and squeezing the zucchini slices first, but they kept breaking, and I was not able to squeeze out as much water as I do when I make zoodles. The lasagne was tasty-ish. I think I'll stick to making zoodles in the future.

I also boiled some eggs, chopped some veggies for sides. I think I will also make a bunch of salads. I have delicious lettuce and tomatoes from the garden that need using. Chocolate chia pudding for dessert.

Car and Other Updates

August 3rd, 2019 at 11:52 am

Well, the mechanic replaced the fuel filter and the spark plugs. Cost me $290.xx which I thought was very reasonable. I found this mechanic on Google and just went based off the reviews - a small local business. The people were friendly and wonderful too. So, hopefully this will be my regular place.

Anyway - the car runs better now. It goes up inclines fine and does not have as much trouble speeding up after stopping. There still is a slight lag, but nowhere near what it was before. I hope this will make the car last another 6 months or so. My plan is to purchase a new car then. This is a really old 1994 Honda Accord. 275,000 miles on it. I don't take it out of town usually. I had been thinking of replacing my car anyway. It's about time I did so. I have a hard time with change. And, since I know so little about cars, I feel like I am particularly gullible and will end up buying a lemon. I will ask some friends to go car shop with me.

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Paid off the cruise balance from budget savings. So, I didn't have to dip intro my travel fund for that. Yay! Not so with the ticket to Florida where we embark on the cruise. It cost me $692.xx. GRR!!!

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Harvested my very first tomato of the year. The variety is "Genuwine" and it is very pretty. The plant is laden with tomatoes, so I will have plenty more soon. And some of my red plum tomatoes and yellow cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen as well. As is my orange bell pepper.

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I can't wait for the end of the year when I will be done with my consumer debt altogether.

Murphy

August 2nd, 2019 at 01:43 pm

Well, so much for my detailed plans for the rest of this year. About 2 days after my last entry, my car decided to die.

At first I thought the battery had drained, so a friend came and jump started it. It ran, so I thought that was that. Well, when I got done with work and got to the car - dead again. So, took it to Autozone to check the battery - the battery is completely dead at this point. So, got a new battery there which they replaced for free $73.xx.

Well, the next day, my neighbor says my car sounds weird, and maybe it's time for an oil change. It was due anyway, so went and did that. Just did the basic change at Jiffy Lube for $29.99.

The next several days, the car will start up and run fine for about a quarter of a mile, but then I was just not able to get any power to the engine. If it's on an incline, it won't go at all. If I stop at a stoplight, I have the hardest time getting it back over 5 miles for the first several seconds. Once it gets up to speed, it's fine. But, if it slows or stops, then it's hard to get it going again.

So, I took it to a mechanic. It's there now. They're replacing the spark plugs and fuel filter. $110 to diagnose this, and another $300 in parts and labor. If this fixes it, then I will go on and do what I originally planned, and buy a car by March or April of next year. If it doesn't, then I will buy another one sooner. I have $5K in my savings and my sister said that I can pull another $2k-ish from our joint savings account. Hopefully that will get me a decent car that I can use for the next 5-7 years.

So, if this doesn't fix it, then the new plan is:

THIS YEAR:
1. Buy new car
2. Still pay off last credit card now at $9300
3. Maybe end up with $1-2K left in my emergency fund if I don't need to replenish our joint savings.

NEXT YEAR:
1. Save $10K in EF before I quit work
2. Start putting money away into a flexible sinking fund. I plan to have $10K in this by the end of next year.
3. Go on the cruise and maybe to Iceland without going into debt.
4. Build up my SE job to completely replace my current income by the end of next year.
5. Once all the planned expenses for next year are paid (furniture, travel, etc.), then I start putting higher amounts towards mortgage principal.

Overall, it hasn't changed much - just the order of things. So, now I'll buy a car first and fill the EF later, rather than have it the other way around.

Updates

July 15th, 2019 at 10:00 am

I went on vacation and then things got busy and in the way of blogging.

Overall, I am doing well. Keeping under budget, and making good financial decisions overall.

I'm on track to pay off my last remaining credit card (currently at 0% APR) by December

Also on track to have EF at $6000 by the end of the year.

I am also making small extra payments towards the mortgage. I won't start making larger principal payments until mid-next year.

The cruise is nearly paid off just from savings from my monthly budget. I paid $400 towards it this month, which leaves a balance of $119.36 which I am sure I will be able to save from next month's projected budget. Doing this feels like a challenge of sorts - and makes me more motivated to find ways to save. This leaves extra money from my travel fund to put towards my airline ticket to Florida from where the cruise departs.

The garden is doing well. My squashes are still doing wonderfully well. I've harvested 45 zucchini already. Next year, I think instead of 4 yellow zucchini, I will plant one yellow zucchini, one green zucchini, and one pattypan squash. My snap peas and some tomatoes are also doing great. Two of my tomatoes look stressed and don't have any fruit on them yet. The rest are doing great. My beets succumbed to beet leaf miner. And for some bizarre reason my beans don't have a single flower on them - I have 6 pole beans and not a single flower or fruit. I don't know what is happening. Lettuce and herbs are doing great. I harvested all my radishes. My hot peppers and bell peppers are also doing well. My sweetmeat squash vine has 7 baby fruit on it. I don't know how many of them will actually be viable, but I anticipate getting at least three.

Tomorrow, I am going to talk with my supervisor and let her know that I want to quit my job by March of next year, and work out a transition plan to cut back my hours and train a replacement for my position. I am both nervous and excited. I have not had any new clients in a little while at my SE job, but I have to keep reminding myself that this is summer - and is a slow time. My plan is to have paid off my credit card, have $10K in EF, and another $10K in a global sinking fund, and have a new-to-me car purchased before I leave my current job for full time self-employment.

This and That

June 24th, 2019 at 11:35 am

I am leaving on Friday for a week long vacation to visit my sister and her family. I always seem to have wayyyy too much to do in the days leading up to a vacation. I don't know why! I made a list of the things that I need to do before I leave so that I don't miss anything important.

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I have zucchini coming out of my ears! I planted four yellow zucchini plants, (one turned out to be a hybrid yellow/green), and they are producing really well. I have already harvested 8 zucchini and given away six of those to others. I cooked the other two and they were wonderfully delicious. By the looks of it, it looks like I will be harvesting 1-3 zucchini every day from now on.

I have two small bell peppers on my orange bell pepper plant. The purple bell pepper has no sign of flowers yet. One of my radishes is breaking the top of the soil and they will all be ready to harvest in about 2 weeks tops. The tomatoes and hot peppers have plenty of flowers, but no fruit yet.

I have a couple of friends who will come and water my plants that aren't connected to the automatic timed watering system. They can also harvest the zucchini as they need to be harvested so that I don't come home to 20 monster sized zucchini and a spent plant.

I'm keeping track of how many zucchini I get per plant. I'm calling them 1, 2, 3, and 4. The tally so far is 3-5-0-0. That's because 3 and 4 were transplanted a week after 1 and 2.

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Had a nice potluck on Saturday with friends. We made taco bowls. I provided rice, beans, lentils, chips. The others provided toppings. It was nice. I love my friends.

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I have $700 from my paycheck deposited into an account that I use for household and regular expenses. Utilities, gas, phone, groceries, eating out, and discretionary spending (this month - cosmetics, movie, massage, haircut, eating out, and clothes) come out of this account. I had $100 left over, so I put that towards the balance due for the cruise. New balance is $519.36. I'll do this again the next two months - add any leftovers towards the cruise balance, and then pay the remainder off in September from my travel sinking fund.

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Cashed out credit card rewards points for a $50 Amazon gift card. I love credit card points. I use a credit card for expenses and pay it off each month so I don't accrue interest, but I get points. I don't spend a lot, so I don't get a lot. But, every few months or so, I will get enough to redeem a gift card.

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Next month, I am returning $1300 to my sister. A few years ago, when I was broke and in credit card debt, my sister gave me money - a few hundred here and there on about 4-5 occasions to help me pay back the debt. She said it was not a loan but a gift. She said it was because I had helped her with similar small amounts when she was a student, and this was her paying me back. But, I kept track of what she gave me and intended to return it. It was $2300 in all. I was going to give it all to her because she has a new baby and her expenses have grown. But, she said that she was planning on giving me $1000 as a housewarming gift. So, we agreed that I'd just give her $1300 instead. I'm adding another $200 as a gift for the baby because my sister said she was taking all this money and adding it to the baby's savings account. My sister is the sweetest. I love her and am grateful for her.