When it comes to the grocery budget

we spend $100 a week for a family of 3. That includes household items. One of the reasons that makes it simple to shop an stay under budget is because we plan out or meals, instead for chopping randomly and throw it in the fridge. If we have money left over, we buy snacks, etc., in case some of us get hungry. My wife and I have stopped going out for lunch and thus bring left overs or bag lunches to work.

I hope this doesn’t sound too dumb…

I know that the reason we are in debt is that we haven’t managed our money well – in fact we’ve never managed money well, but at the beginning it was better. 18 years later, we’re just in a mess.

I honestly do not know how to budget. It seems so simple, but it’s like I have this big block about it and until I force myself to get past that, I know things are never going to get better. We have horrible credit, and it seems like our bills exceed our income every month.

I’m pretty new here

and had mainly joined to get some ideas and moral support!! I have been struggling with our family budget. Maybe I’m trying to be a perfectionist. I keep going over and over it and stuff like grocerys and household supplies keep coming up short. Does anyone else have any of these issues? Have you solved them. I think that our grocery area is where we spend WAY too much. Input is appreciated.

I just purchased the Evernote scanner and set it up tonight

I think I am really going to like it. I am self employed and have a terrible time keeping track of paperwork and receipts. This is really quick. It’ll scan a stack of receipts in seconds and send them in a file to Evernote. It also does a great job scanning photographs and documents. And, like neatdesk, it’s wireless.


If there are fees and that just gets added into the loan won’t that mean you will be paying interest on that amount also?

The why, in my refi question, is this…

Why is it so hard to refi and not get screwed?
Here’s the deal we have our mortgage through a small town bank and our car loan through the same bankl and our home equity loan through 5/3. We want to refinance the two home loans and possibly my husbands government student loan…not sure if the car loan could get rolled in there too…
Anyway, he bought the house for 101K and 86k is left on it (including the equity loan) and we’re paying $1080 a month between the two loans. I asked the small town bank about refi-ing and she told me we had to pay for the appraisal and $2500 closing fees and that it would only work if our house appraises for $126K. Which it won’t appraise for the much…maybe $112K.
I’ve got a friend who worked for several banks as a loan officer telling me that the lady at the small town bank is nuts. They can waive the fees if they want and if they can’t they can roll them into the loan so we don’t have to pay anything up front.
Why are the two telling me such completely different things? What can ya’ll tell me about Refinancing the house loans? We need the payment to be closer to $850 a month vs. the current $1080….is it possible?

Satellite bill question

I have 9 months left on my 24 month contract with DirecTv. I got a bunch of rebates and things so my bill was $40. Now some of those have run out so my bill is now just on $70 a month.
So I was wondering if this made financial sense or not. DirecTV charge $70 to drop the Advanced HD receiver and get the standard one. I get charged $25 per month for the receiver.
So I wouldn’t see any immediate difference for the first 3 months, but I would be saving that $25 for the last 6.
Worthwhile? Or is my logic fuzzy again?

Paid in full and closed! SOOOO HAPPY!

Next up to bat is the Discover, but thats next month.

March budget is complete, and luckily its a crazy work month for me so I was able to tweak the budget I have set for food, travel and leisure. We have the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show this month, and my company operates a booth there. All month I work my usual 8-4 and then work 430-10 at the rodeo. And I have many saturday and sunday nights too. The plus side to the crazy month? Paid cash for the rodeo hours, and should make an extra $1500 because of it. Also, all my work meals are free all month due to the overload hours, and I sure won’t have time to spend money elsewhere lol.

So, you may not hear much from me this month, but I’ll be working up a large snowball for that Discover card 🙂

I have started working on Nov’s budget

Most months it’s just tweaking since not much changes around here. We have given our long-term care insurance agent the go-ahead to pursue the policy we chose. Have to go through the medicals to get approval. He is also checking into a rider for dd. I really don’t think she’ll pass the medical part due to her history but we are going to try it. One thing we found out is that not that many agents/companies sell LT ins here. Maybe it’s different in other places.

It is ironic that this agent has read several of DR’s books but still believes in whole life insurance. We do not have any other insurnace thorugh him other than the long term care are applying for. He seems to like several of DR’s ideas but has not drank the cool-aid yet.

We are working on getting things together for our accountant. Gonna try to have it there by the end of the week. Since we have to pay every year now we are not in a hurry to write that check. 🙁 Our accountant files for an automatic extension for everyone, as most accountants do. Last year it was like October before we actually filed. First time since we bought out my dad taht we ever filed that late. I told dh that I didn’t like filing that late and to ask if we can get bumped back up to the top of the pile.

Exactly what I was thinking !!!

Little League provides pretty good training (at least out here in our area) and the rules in high school and PONY are not much different (substitution rules in high school, and the age where you can lead off for PONY). Even if you spent a season volunteering (for free) just to get the experience, you would be pretty far ahead.


$74 a game (at least, out here in California), at the high school level. $120 at the junior college level. Drops to about $40-50 at the PONY or Little League level (PONY hires umpires, Little League has a mix of pay and volunteer–they prefer volunteer.)

Out here, for high school and PONY you pay the assigner $4 a game to hook you up, but that is minor compared to what you can make. When DH was unemployed for a year, baseball season saved us. He brought in about $800 a month for the 4 months of regular season.

Still living in gratitude

DD18 doing better….at least she’s eating, drinking and showering all on her own and sleeping through the night. She has two more DR visits this week….

Can I say how grateful we are for a FFEF? We blew through $1k with DD/family, and GLAD to have done it.

Landlord being a putz. We still have enough money in the MMA to buy up to a $75k house (mortgage loan people said “at worst case” to cover closing etc. we should have 10% in cash). DD18 being ill has made my working outside the home not necessarily viable like it was. But I have $1050 worth of umpiring baseball games over the next 90 days, which I can do without jeopardizing taking care of DD18 (for the most part.)

We talk to the mortgage people again this wednesday. Find out what else they need uploaded in order to make an offer and have it go through. We may end up sending DS19 out there the end of April to take possession of the house and be living on the kindness of strangers for the month of May. I ended up putting a lawyer on retainer (that sounds so much more impressive than it is) with all the stuff that’s going on with landlord, DD18, buying house, etc. Re-upped with LegalShield.

Honestly, they’re not good for much, but at least they can look over a contract, maybe send a letter to get my Landlord to back off if it comes to that etc. (I anticipate since he’s already reneged on giving us to October and changed it to June 1, that he’s going to renege on that too, and give us a 60 day notice, which will mean the last month of school for the kids, we will be scrambling. Yes, he’s that big of a jerk.)

On a more upbeat note, I have cleared out about 1/2 of my food storage crates and repacked stuff, clearing up a bunch of crates. There’s a shocker: our supplies are low, since we went through most of it during DH’s unemployment.

Once I get through the food storage I am going to start packing up the house. One way or the other, we are likely going to be in Texas in 90 days. We will probably just bring enough to get by…and have to save up $3k to move it in a UHaul later. (That was plan B anyway.)

They worked with me on a re-fi last year

I was able to get a 30-year fixed, and the big thing was that I didn’t have to get an appraisal. The problem is I’m underwater, so the appraisal would have killed the re-fi. My only complaint was that the process took a while to complete, with a bunch of back and forth. But the lady DID get it done…

I will suggest it…

can’t hurt for her to ask, right? I actually looked into them myself out of curiosity though when I read about them from DR, but they have a pretty average/below average reputation. Lots of complaints, and I also read DR may just endorse them because he’s childhood friends with the owner. Maybe, maybe not though?

I agree wholeheartedly with most of what DR preaches, but I also am a skeptic.

Has anyone here had any experienced with Churchill?

I love your story about buying your car

We no longer finance either, even cars. If we can’t pay cash without it negatively affecting our financial situation, we don’t buy it, no matter what it is. We do not buy new cars. The last car purchase was dd’s car, which she paid for, in cash. It was a 2013 Impala, beautiful condition inside and out, with less than 700 original miles! She bought it this past December. It was so cool to see her do that. Oh, dh and I threw in a little at the end as part of her Christmas, enough to cover tax, title and license. That was minor compared to what she put in. We have a relationship with the sales manager at this dealership, less than 3 miles from our home. We feel very blessed to have found some impressive deals like this with dd’s car and our last one, an Acadia. The sales manager is keeping his eye out for a Suburban-esqe type vehicle for us that is in similar condition to dd’s Impala … low miles, no history of wrecks or engine/transmission trouble, etc. We know the time will be right when the right vehicle comes about. When you’re not in a hurry, like us, you can afford to wait for the right deal.

When the right deal comes along I am not sure what we’ll do w/our current vehicle situation. Dh has said he’ll drive my Acadia and do something with his truck, which is older. Currently we are using it to carry our craft show stuff. Our new vehicle will have to be big enough to handle it or we’ll have to see about renting a trailer as needed or buy one.

Dh will keep his old car, a ’77 Monte Carlo. That is his baby. It won’t sell till dh passes away or he scores a car he falls in love with more than this one. He his fixing up his baby with cash and it is not financed either.

About credit scores and reports. We have not checked ours in a few years. I am not worried about our scores since we bought a home we can spend our retirement years in. Since it is one story we don’t have to worry about negotiating stairs, etc. Big enough but not too big.

I am so thankful that dh and I are on the same page about debt! I am believing this year will be an excellent year financially and that we will be able to write a check within the year to pay off our house. I am having faith!

Today I got a call from the flooring place where I get tiles for my coaster business

They had about 75 slate tiles that are 4″x4″. These tiles were going to be greatly discounted. They thought of me and wanted to offer them to me first. I got all 75 for $15. That comes out to 7 cents per tile + tax. I got these so cheap that if any experiment does not work, it is no big deal. They also let me know during this call that my 8″x8″ travertine was in as well. I got those at my usual price.

I also have been working on January’s budget, tweaking it some. As I stated in a previous post, we have a stockpile of money in our medication envelope. Since it has built up we are moving some of that to the furniture envelope since we are wanting to buy a couple of recliners. If we should have to unexpectedly plow through our medication envelope we will redirect the money back to it.

We will have to make a regularly occurring tax payment next month so dh and I are getting $$ ready for that. It does not have to be mailed till next week. However we have started the process so when we must mail it, all the funds will be in place.

We also talked briefly about Social Security. He is not near retiring but reminded me that we need to think about salary adjustments starting 3 years before he begins to draw it. Dh is almost 59 so it’s not an immediate thing to do but it is not far either. He would like to wait till late 60’s or maybe 70. This topic got on the agenda today because my dad brought up how he basically lives on SS, though he does have retirement elsewhere. He rarely has to tap that other retirement money because he is completely debt free and has pretty much lived that way all his life. So … getting debt free early lets us all start saving and dreaming for the retirement lifestyle we want to live.

DH also looked at what we can put in our HSA to fully fund it next year. It is a slight bump up and every little bit helps. We try to save it for high dollar expenses, kind of like what Jan and her dh is going through, or contacts for me or glasses for dh. Dh’s prescription for glasses is not cheap, he has to have a prism ground into one of his lenses. Other expenses like regularly prescribed medication or sick visits to the doctor get paid via line items in the budget.

Guess that is enough for now.

What did everyone else do?

As you already know

this last couple of weeks have been all about getting my dh well. I am staying at the hospital with him for numerous reasons. Several people have remarked about how expensive that can be. For me it is cheaper for me to stay here. We live roughly 50 miles from the hospital, so it would be a 100 mile round trip each day if I were to come up once per day. My dually gets 20 mpg give or take. So 5 or more gallons a day at $2.80 per gal. That right there would be $14 or more per day. I generally spend $15- $20 per day on food here and I take $150 payday loans online at GSHLoans Inc with no credit check. I am not having to supply the groceries, the utilities to cook the food, and more importantly I don’t have to do dishes. Most important is I am where I want to be and I can be an advocate for my dh. Not to mention I am getting all sorts of research done.
reply from Jen:

We have been where you are, but with our dd. I totally understand all your points on why you are staying put at the hospital. Insurance, if one is fortunate enough to have it, is great but it does not cover everything. Once when dd was in the hospital for 28 days we ended up receiving a parking pass from one of the social workers. We were there so long one of the public cafeterias thought we were employees and start giving a discount. It was several days before we realized the meals were a little cheaper than they had been.

You may want to check with the social worker or a VA rep to see of there are other things that can be done to help you since your stay has already been lengthy. Possibly a complimentary meal per day or a further discount on meals. Sometimes if you order through your family member’s room it is a little cheaper. Maybe you are already getting your food that way. If you are paying for parking, see if you can get a pass for free/discounted parking.

We were also told we could get juice or other snacks through the patient “kitchen” on the floor. It was a room where there was a fridge/freezer with juice, milk, popsicle, etc. We were on the pediatric floor so this may not be the norm.

If you have Aflac you might have other coverage that has not been explored so check that too.

I think the name should be changed to a debt score

It reports on how well you leverage debt as if that is a good thing. I don’t mind my score being in the toilet at this point considering that I pay for everything – EVERYTHING with cash. There was a long time I fought my former mortgage company to keep my account reported as paid. The last car I financed back in 1990 something, I held on to its payment history as long as I could to keep a “good” score, but I finally let it sink in that having an “in the tank” score was truly financial freedom. People do me a favor thinking that I’m not a good risk.Truth be told, when I went to buy my brand new car almost 5 years ago and the finance manager gave me the loan app and I asked him how much and pulled out a cashier’s check for shockingly close to the amount he said and put the rest on my debit card, the look on his face was…beautiful!

Yes it is all crazy!

My poor sister was hoping to get a mortgage loan this year, and since she has no credit cards, paid her car loan with all on-time payments and saved up about 30% cash for a downpayment she really thought she would be seen as an eligible candidate.


Lenders (several!) have told her she needs to open 3-4 “lines of credit” and use them lol.

Why should a good score be based on the fact that you want spend more money than you have? She’s been responsible on her modest income, caring for 4 children and saving, saving, saving.

She and I talked about it and she’s decided to just continue saving cash for now, because she doesn’t want any credit cards! Maybe in another few years she’ll have enough cash to buy a fixer upper home and then put in some sweat equity.

Credit Bureaus are just so stupid

Been listening to FPU cd’s. Trying to follow Dave and laugh at my ever lessening credit score. Still makes me mad that I have paid my bills on time 95% of the time (with the 5% being last year when DH was unemployed) and that gives me an “F” on creditkarma and a “poor” on Transunion. Sallie Mae finally reported at the year end, that my daughter’s student loan, which I cosigned for, was paid off.

So it went from showing $25,000 on my credit report to $0.

And I’m still an “F” and a “poor” credit risk.

What the…really? They’re just stupid.

Itching to SPLIT!

Background: 7 Children, two medically complex with frequent surgeries, our daughter with Spina Bifida just had hip/pelvic/femur repair and is wheelchair bound for 4+ more weeks and we won’t know if she will regain her previous mobility until that 4 weeks comes and goes. We live in a split level house (4 levels) and it is NOT accessible…we’re hoping to get her custom wheelchair in this summer.

We have two main loans (besides house loan) to pay off…one expires in Sept 2015 and the other Sept 2016.

I want to move NOW! We have 7 children and I’m itching to just split outta here!

We’ll pay off the smaller loan ($3800ish) in 3 months and the other one ($5800ish) 6 months after that. So, no we won’t be moving this year (BUMMER) but maybe next year!

So hard to be patient when I just want out of here now!

Months ago I made our mortgage countdown calendar

to put on the fridge with teddy bears for each month. (Photos in the photo section) At first dh was “that’s nice”. After awhile ds started remarking that the numbers were dropping fairly fast. But dh still barely acknowledged it.

With all that has gone on this last three months I haven’t even been able to do a full snowball payment, but I have paid a little extra here and there.

Tonight I changed the bears and did an update, under the very watchful eye of dh. I turned around to see him grinning ear to ear. He then remarked about how much we have dropped that bill tremendously in just a few months. It seems he has been paying attention all along. In fact he was the one that pointed out even with just basic payments we will break the $50,000 mark in just 2 weeks!

Cindi says to tell everyone thank you for the prayers and suggestions

She is definitely checking on everything everyone has suggested. Saturday she came back to the “neighborhood” to see if even one item was salvageable. And one item is exactly what she found, but it wasn’t hers. She has no idea where it came from, but she feels it is a sign from God.

Laying in the smouldering ashes of what had been her home for 14 years was a small ceramic figurine, burnt, but in pretty good condition considering. It was a Phoenix.

I don’t know your beliefs, but I am with her it is a sign that she shall rise from the ashes of this challenge, just as the fabled Phoenix did.

It is now her cover photo on her fb page as a reminder that it is all going to be okay.

Pay off!

Woo hoo! We paid off our 2011 federal tax return today!!! It was $25K, so it is a big relief to have it finally gone. It’s only a $100 a month snowball, but getting to cross one off the list is a wonderful feeling. It was such a bummer when we found out we had to “pay” that year. 2012 and 2013 we got refunds which helped to get the balance down faster, but I thought we had another year until we paid it off. I logged into the IRS today and saw that the balance was only $236 and DH said just pay it off! So I did!

State is getting low too, under $2K, so hopefully that will be paid off this year too!

It’s a good day!