That made me smile

Thank you. As it turns out, you’re one of the ones who really inspired me to “go all in”, knowing that you run your business as a cash operation. That’s been my main reluctance, was dealing with the various vendors who are accustomed to getting either automatic payments or electronic transfers or whatever. I’ll have some big purchases to make in October, just as normal part of operations, and that’ll feel VERY weird. But if other folks have found ways to do it, so can I.

Just dug out the little brown wallet with all the little envelopes still inside from class, and it’s sitting on my desk at the moment awaiting my attentions later today. I’ll go through and ensure I have an envelope for each section of my weekly budget. Feel in some ways like I’m starting over, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Been ridiculously busy around here

for a variety of reasons I won’t get into (most of which are quite boring). But one pretty big deal – I’ve decided that October will be my first earnest experiment with going cash-only. Yes, you read that right. After years of telling myself I didn’t need to and didn’t want to and wouldn’t benefit from it and it wouldn’t work anyway, I’m going to give it a try. We have been working really hard to nail down our budget the last few months, and making major headway on doing so. But I’m still experiencing weeks (more often than not) where I run out of money before I run out of week. That’s a planning failure; there’s no two ways about it. And it’s just too easy to whip out that debit card and hit the ATM and transfer the cash I need from one of our other sinking funds. It’s a habit I simply MUST break if I’m ever going to really truly accomplish the financial progress that we first learned three years ago. Yes, it’s been three years. Making these kinds of mistakes as we’re just starting FPU is understandable. Making them now is proof that I still have work to be done before I’m really the master of my spending. Hence, going cash-only.

So as of this Friday, when our financial October really begins, think of me filling my little envelopes (which I still have from class), and thinking “ok, this has to last me a week……….” Each Friday for October, I’ll be repeating that cycle. I’d be a liar if I claimed I wasn’t a bit intimidated by making this shift. But hey, it’s often good to shake things up and try something new now and then. So, wish me luck.

Which actually does have some relevance to getting out of debt

storing up food, provisions and an emergency fund. In short: do it while the sun shines.

I read an article by the Wall Street Journal the other day about the 5 things you should know about the Occupy Central (Hong Kong) situation. It was laughable how wrong it was. Although they did quote a 70 year old woman who wished the students had taken a few more history lessons. That was salient.

Housing is small in Hong Kong (the country). I think the average apartment is about 800 square feet: some larger, but way more are far far less. It is a culture which lives literally, for the moment: food is bought daily, water (for the day) is boiled daily, and housing and life there doesn’t really lend itself to stockpiling food, water, or provisions to ride out a calamity. A great many people do have money in the bank, but they won’t be able to access it if Beijing shuts it down, nor will they have a way off the island itself, and since they built the “new” airport (located WAY off island on a different island), getting to an airport will be constrained too.

I feel bad because at the end of the day the vast majority of people on Hong Kong island are going to find out quickly that are stuck, with few options. The ones who listened to counsel and prepared (and those will be very very few in number, even among those whose churches teach preparedness), will be slightly better off, but I’d be surprised if they could ride out more than 72 hours.

I’ve never met CJ before

I keep hoping her travels will bring her through Michigan so I can meet her and Gary. From what I remember, CJ didn’t have any disposable income to buy the book, and the waiting list at her library was months long. I had a few extra copies of TMMO (I used to give them to friends/acquaintances), and offered to send her one if she wanted. She accepted, so I sent it. :-)
I wish there was a more exciting story than that, but that’s about it…

I am SOOOO excited for you…..

We have been working it and doing this right along with you….

I remember in 2008 when I left my teaching job (and the income it provided)— the temptation was just to file bankruptcy like all the many I people I knew who had done it multiple times.

But, somehow to me—it just didn’t seem right…….

So—here it is 2015 and we too are just about done with debt besides the mortgage.

(We went mortgage free 2012 when we switched homes—big house on 10 acres to the fixer upper in next town over for those that are newer to the board)….

Yes, is taking awhile to be totally debt free…but the satisfaction and knowledge that I have gained through the journey has been awesome…. I am sure it has been the same for you.

Murphy hit :)

I’ve been flying under the radar lately… last I posted was that I paid off one Sallie Mae and only had one Sallie Mae ($21k) remaining to complete BabyStep2. (We do have some extras on BS6).

Since that time, I have received a few thousand in medical bills that have to get added to BS2. Then last week our 13 year old AC unit went out, and this weekend our 14 year old kitty came home hurt.

So on Monday, I paid $3434 for a new AC unit. It should have been a total of $3604, but I found a $20 coupon that the tech didn’t even realize was out there… and then when we got our estimate, I asked if he’d consider knocking off $150 if we scheduled it for Monday. He agreed and write paper for me, so it’s real custom writing service and it was delivered in few hours!

Also on Monday, I paid $400 to the vet for an x-ray, they knocked him out to clean up his wound (we thought his leg might be broken, but he had a bad wound from an animal fight or something like that and it was abscessed), a shot of antibiotic that lasts the whole 2 weeks, and also bought the flea control while we were there (got 2 months free by doing so).

So $3,834 in one day. I was so bummed. SO bummed! How do you all get over it when you feel so down about being derailed by Murphy?

With the push of a button

Today I called dh while on his lunch break and told him the following:
“5.5 years ago today we started down the Total Money Makeover path together owing roughly $102,000 in credit card and medical debt. Along the way we have had interest added to that, a little extra medical and 18 months of unemployment. I am about to pay off the last of that debt and thought you would want to be part of it.”
Then I included him in all the steps of logging in to Chase bank and making that final payment. With the single push of a button we are now credit card debt free. I am so excited I’m weepy!
Look out Wells Fargo here we come to end the $67,000+ of mortgages we owe you.
The max it should take is 538 days now because today’s payment of an early payoff on Chase took 50 days off our expected mortgage payoff date. We are shooting for 365 days or less, wish us luck!

I forgot to mention I’ve started a winter “garden” in my office

No the floor isn’t so dirty I can plant taters I’ve got a sliding glass door in that room and a Baker’s rack in front f it. I use to just grow houseplants and an aloe vera for burns on it, but this winter I decided to be a little different.

When I did our monthly grocery shopping two weeks ago I picked up a cilantro and a basil plant and repotted them for my garden. I stopped by Wal-Mart again this weekend, after going to Goodwill and purchased rosemary, lavender, sweet mint, and chive plants to add to my little garden. I’m repotting those into organic soil today. Between the two shopping trips I’ve done my “recycled” green onions.

I’ve wrote about this before where you can cut the root ends off of green or regular onions and plant them and they’ll grow again. I’ve been on a green onion kick lately so I’ve been planting the roots of them in a flower pot on the Baker’s rack and already have some great shoots on them I could use in cooking.

I’ve got several herb seeds I’ll plant as time goes along as well as radishes and other small items. I’ve thought about a tomato plant, but then I’m not wild about the smell of a tomato plant in my office, so maybe after we get the sunroom ready for winter I’ll put one out there, or one on my starting station in the basement. LOL!

Went in to my bank today (Comerica) with my babysitting check

DH is travelling and has the ATM card. I am on both my daughter’s and son’s checking accounts also, and all are linked online so I can transfer money around if I need to.

I wanted to see how much of the babysitting check would be immediately available if I deposited it in branch.

Answer: Zero. Oh. And the check funds won’t be available until WEDNESDAY.

But if I deposit it through the ATM into my son’s account, $200 of it will be immediately available, I can transfer that 200 into my checking account immediately and pay off CCs, and the remaining 150 will be available on TUESDAY.

Did I mention that by 1pm they empty out the ATM and process deposits like a regular branch deposit?

So if I come in face to face, it’s 5 days before I have access to funds. If I use an ATM, I get immediate access to 200, and access to the rest in 4 days. And you still have to process it.

401K money hasn’t been taxed yet

Its taken from pretaxed paycheck dollars. But when you go to withdraw it at 59.5 years of age and following it will be taxed at that time, at your tax rate at that age. In theory your tax should be less, the older you are…

Roth IRA money is paid by you, in after tax dollars, and you don’t have to pay taxes on it when you go withdraw it at 59.5 because you’ve already paid tax on it, before contributing it.

As far as match, some companies provide a match of maybe 50% of your contribution up to 5% of your salary. Or they might match 5% of your contributions etc. They define their own percentage and terms on the match, which is free money to you. Its recommended that if your company provides a match in any amount, to take it, but do ONLY whats necessary to get the matching funds. The rest of your retirement contributions should be funneled to a Roth.

Why not it all in one basket? Thats not diversification. Also company plans generally have picked for you what you can invest in. You get greater choice with a Roth. Plus if you’re in a company plan, you’re totally at their mercy if they should decide to change companies, or if they want to put all of their investments in their own stock…

I am happy to report that I paid off another credit card

paid tithing, and am looking forward to paying off another credit card in the next day or so once the dust settles on debits to my account and deposits to my account.

Paying tithing may seem like a frivilous thing to some, but as DR and others have said: it’s a habit which shows you are in control of your money and living within your means (for those who tithe, not saying if you don’t belong to a faith which tithes that there is a problem.)

That is certainly the case with me. Unlike DR’s advice (not to mention the church), I have a very bad habit of tithing last, when or if I have any money left over, vs doing it upfront. So to be able to take care of this says to me: look, your life is back in control. You CAN tell your money where to go, and you CAN exercise faith.

So I’m very excited on all fronts.

Nerd that I am, I worked out a plan for the babysitting job, since the one I have with the nurse looks like it is going to dwindle to twice a month rather than once a week (not complaining.) We’ll still be on track to be original debt free by the end of December, or mid January at the latest.