Sunday, November 29, 2009

November Wrap Up & December Goals

Been up for a couple hours cause I can't sleep. I have a lot on my mind. First, I still have four garments to make by this coming Saturday. Second, I feel like we hemorrhaged money this month and wanted to see where we actually stood.

Let's get down to the nitty gritty shall we?
  • Income - $7975.21 ($4100.22 regular earnings, $2870 savings transfers & $1003.79 additional deposits)
  • Coffee - $137.20 (up $68.47 and $102.20 over budget)
  • Eating Out - $176.93 up $87.12)
  • Groceries - $222.36 (down $150 and $22.36 over budget)
  • Gas - $167.06 (down $50.10 and $27.06 over budget)
  • Save - nada (see below)
Goals for November were...
  • 6 days of Starbucks (5 Sundays and Thanksgiving day) - epic failure
  • 9 workouts (5 walking Sundays and 4 workout Wednesdays) - total of 4 walks
  • $400 extra payment on car - nope (see below)
  • $900 in savings - nope (see below)
  • loose 10 pounds - stayed the same
  • knit SS fingerless gloves and three more ornaments - nada
  • buy Christmas gifts - did purchase some
  • either paint the living room or tile the hearth - nope
Yeah - now that you see the numbers I've got some splainin to do. My husband sold his car last month in order to buy a car from my dad. That car needed some work and so did my car.

Sold 87 BMW - $2400
Mortgage didn't have to pay - $900
Prepaid taxes from previous mortgage reimbursed - $760.13
Overpayment reimbursement from previous mortgage - $1003.79
Total additional available monies - $5063.92

Subaru work (axle, timing belt, water pump, various pulleys, oil change) - $1425.19
Porsche work (brakes, motor mounts, clutch) - $2637.60
Total work done to our cars - $4062.79

Total left over is $1001.13.

Oh yeah - and we exercised our credit cards this month too. I don't have the final numbers but probably to the tune of around $500. This is above what we spent on our cars that we have not reimbursed from cash.

Both my husbands kids have decided to live with us. So, once the dust settles and after attorney's fees to make it all legal (we are hoping around $1000 for attorneys fees) we will increase our spending every month by $118 to add the kids to the hubs health insurance and $200 for groceries (they are teenagers). We will no longer have to pay child support and expect to receive it from their mother.

We are also working on changing our new refinanced mortgage from a monthly payment to bi-weekly payments. That means we will end up paying an extra payment a year and potentially save tons in interest as well as pay off our 30 year mortgage faster. We will also slightly increase our payment to add extra every month to the principal. Currently our first mortgage is $796.73 and I think we will do bi-weekly payments of $450.

Because of the kids wanting to move in with us we now need to get a house. Our current 900 square foot two bedroom condo was fine when they just visited three weekends a month. Now that they will be living with us permanently in the new year (plus my SS's 70 pounds dog) we will need more space. Our goal is to put our place on the market in the late spring/early summer and move to a house.

I would like to still set some December goals but life is really in flux right now. Here is how the budget stands today.
  • Income - $4106.90
  • Bills - $2023.29
  • Loan Payments - $753 (minimums with a little rounding)
  • CC Payments - $200 (minimums with a little rounding)
  • Groceries - $200
  • Gas - $140
  • Mad Money - $900 (still not done Christmas shopping)
  • Save - $805.67 (this represents money we may need in January to get set up on the bi-monthly mortgage payment plan)
Other goals for this month
  • Finish four other garments for Steampunk Ball by Saturday December 5
  • Walk all four Sundays and do Wii Fit or Jillian Michaels all four Wednesdays
  • Track eating for WW - get back on plan
  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Paint living room
  • Christmas gift purchased/made and wrapped by December 22nd
  • Print copy of paycheck so I can take to cell company to get 6% discount
Here is to getting custody of the kids, revamping my budget, sticking to my goals and surviving the holiday season!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Apple Cup

I have been absent as I have been madly cutting out and sewing garments for the upcoming Steampunk Ball next Saturday. I have two garments completely finished and have started on the third.

I am going to take a break and go watch my Cougs beat the Huskies in the Apple Cup.

GO COUGS!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Getting Steamy!

So, a few months ago I discovered this little world of Steampunk and the hubs and I have been going to a regular meet up on Monday nights at a local coffee house to hang with other Steamy individuals.

In a few short weeks the Emerald City will be hosting the first annual Steampunk Exhibition Ball. I have a dilemma. Because its a ball I feel like I should wear a skirt. Not really certain I want to. I'm not a big fan of skirts. Not only that - I have no Steamy outfits put together yet. I have multiple ideas and can't pull the trigger on a one of them. So, I have been trolling google images for ideas on what to make for myself and the hubs.

I am more comfortable in pants. I had thought about doing a skirt gathered in the front to show pantaloons. But, I love the idea of wearing something most other women will not be and I'm drawn to the idea of a pant.

I saw these and decided they looked enough like pantaloons to pass for what I want. They have a costume feel to them that I like. I can make these in a wool menswear stripe as shown or in a nicer satin for a ball. Not certain if I am going to do the bustle on the back. Depends on what type of corset I decide to make.

Next up is the corset. I love this style of corset. It has the feel of a jacket and the back is long (if I choose) as a bustle. If I went with this option I might not put the bustle on the pants. Love the collar and how they are connected.

Under the corset I will have a chemise like top. I have not decided if I want short sleeves as shown or long sleeves.

If the chemise is short sleeved I want to make some cuffs. If I make the top with long sleeves I want them to go over the wrist like the cuffs shown below.

That's it for the main costume items. I am going to look for boots but I have shoes that will pass if I can't find what I want for the right price. I still need some steamy accouterments like goggles, a raygun a steamy hat and such.

The hubs has a few things at home already he can wear. He has a black pair of pants with a stripe down the leg much like tuxedo pants. Or, he also has a grey pair of wool pants that would do as well. We can get him a button down shirt, and I can make him a vest, cravat and a velvet lab coat much like the one below.

We need to find him a top hat and some steamy accouterments of his own. Spats and a walking stick would be great too. Love the steamy flask below!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Like Whoa!

OK, my little universe as I know it has suddenly been turned upside down. Last weekend the hubs kids came down after us not being able to see them for most of October due to their mother's lack of cooperation in drop off and pick up.

The hubs son (C) told us that he wants to live with us.

Let me just let that sink in.............................................................

Did I mention that C wants to live with us?

I'm honestly excited. He chose us. Ever since I started dating my now husband I have wanted to opportunity to be a full time parent. Sadly, their mother has had the opportunity to make the best possible decisions for them and has not. The kids are teenagers and are voicing their opinions.

The hubs daughter (A) is of the same opinion but can't quite pull the trigger on a decision to move. I think she is nervous about telling her mom and I don't blame her. She has a real hard time with change. She is adamant that she not change schools again (can you say four moves in 8 1/2 years?) but I suspect if she stays with her mom there will be yet another move in her future due to her current circumstances.

Getting back to the fun stuff. We just refinanced our condo. Now it looks like we will need to start house hunting in the spring. The reason - we have a two bedroom condo. The kids have to share when they are visiting. With C living with us full time that is no longer an option.

We have an interim plan in place though. My in-laws also have a two bedroom condo in the same building. Literally one landing away from us. They have generously offered their spare room for a child to use. Problem solved, even if A moves in with us. It will be a little weird until we can move on to a house but we will make it work. The important things is that we give them the support and stability they need.

Here we go!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Dance!!!

Today when I got home from work I had a nice fat check waiting for me. I knew I would have a reimbursement check from escrow for prepaid property taxes. I had a number in my head around $300. The check was for $770.13. Woohoo! That brings my E-Fund up to $875.55 and my goal is $1000, only $124.45 short.

Since I had to get work done on my car I did not think I would be able to put money in savings this month and I would never reach my $1000 minimum for my e-fund. I still will not be able to make a larger than normal payment on my car but will start doing that in January.

Someone accepted a position at my company today and starts on the 16th. This will greatly ease the amount of work that I have been doing and relieve some of my stress.

Christmas is coming!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Car Is Well Again

Originally I was planning on putting what would normally go to my mortgage in to savings since we refinanced and get to "skip" a mortgage payment this month. I had also planned to put an additional $400 on my car payment this month. I took my car in for service today.
  • New timing belt
  • New water pump
  • New pulley's & tensioner's (for timing belt)
  • Transmission flush
  • New radiator cap & random hoses
  • Car rental for the day since we are down to one car
  • Brakes were checked but they are good
They forgot to do the oil change or forgot to charge us. We will call on that tomorrow. This is all stuff that needs to be done and is the way I am going to be able to keep my car alive until I can pay it off and buy my Mini Cooper S in chocolate brown.

Total damage - $1349.67.
Total budgeted - $1360.00
Total left over - $10.33 boo ya!

Even though we have debt. It's a pretty good feeling to be able to pay for this "emergency" with cash. I say emergency because my dad thinks I could have gone miles on that bad axle. Such is the opinion of a man who for the better part of his life has had to fix something or other on his daily driver (old Studebaker's) . Now he owns a nearly new Porsche and doesn't have to worry - too much. Well, we actually used a credit card since we don't get paid until Friday. But...we will pay $900 the next payday and $400 the following payday to zero out the card.

I could use money we have in savings from the sale of the hubs old car. But, that money is earmarked for some stuff that needs to happen to his new car so I don't want to get us in trouble there.

The reason for this is that he needs his car up and running by mid December. Right now we carpool but in mid December to early January my office is moving and we will no longer be able to carpool. If he can't drive his car - it's the bus.

Don't you think the above is a better alternative (not our actual car but a stock photo)?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Visions of Sugarplums...

Halloween is over but even before October was officially out the door I started to see advertisements for Christmas. I think that is totally crazy and "they" should wait for November 1st. Even if I do start my Christmas gift planning in the summer, I don't expect to see holiday decorations out until at least November.

I have ramped up my efforts for Christmas gift buying. I have no idea what to get some people and I'm hoping for some suggestions...
The hubs and I already have the kids figured out and the big ticket items purchased for them. We don't have a ton of money available to us and I want to not use a credit card if at all possible. We were successful last year and I think only used a credit card for one purchase. I was at my wits end and used my Macy's card to get my mom a gift card cause I couldn't find ANYTHING on her list.

We have my parents, my sister, BILL and their two kids, my brother, the hubs parents and hubs grandparents and a few friends we exchange with .

The only thing I plan to make this year are new stockings. I have some brown velvet that looks like fur that I use to trim them. Just need to get some brown fabric.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sidebar Updates

First post of the new month and I have updated my sidebars.

Progress Not Perfection

This month for my espresso challenge I will attempt to go 24 days without buying from Starbucks. I am limiting myself to Sundays and Thanksgiving day.

My emergency fund goal for right now is only $1000 until I can get some things paid off. I would prefer my emergency fund to be around $3000 at all times. Because of our refinance we don't have a mortgage payment this month.

The car rehab fund is for the money the hubs made selling his 87 BMW. That $2400 is going towards a few repairs and the purchase of an 89 Porsche the hubs is buying from my dad. This fund should go away by the end of the year.

The travel fund is set for $2000. This is a number I pulled out of my head. The hubs and I are going to Savannah next spring or summer for a long over due honeymoon. We think we can do the trip for around $2000. The money for this fund this year will come from our tax return.

The hubs and I would eventually like to have two laptops and no desktop machine. We are going to start with one laptop and an external hard drive. We have a budget of $600 for the laptop and will be looking to buy around Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving). We are due some money from our old mortgage for prepaid property taxes in escrow. That money, plus any money we make selling things on Craigslist will go here.

Debt Reduction

We have used our credit cards since paying them off in August. Some things were necessary and some were not. I do make more than the minimum payments on them. The ultimate goal is not to use them but they are available now until we can get things paid off and money saved to free up more of our take home pay. We have only used 14% of our available credit.

The personal loan from my parents is something I want to aggressively pay off once I have my car & credit cards paid off and more money in savings.

My car loan is about half paid off and this is what I am focusing on right now. This month I plan to put an additional $400 on my $200 payment.

The hubs student loan is something we are going to continue to put a minimum payment on. It has the lowest interest rate of anything (except the loan to my parents) but because the balance to my parents is so much larger I would prefer to pay that off first.

The mortgage and home equity loan have zero percentage pay down because we just refinanced a couple weeks ago. Our first payments are due in December.

The Christmas knitting projects are pretty self explanatory.