Friday, January 22, 2016

Focusing on Debt

This was my December update on debt:

Debt killing goals:
(1) Pay off lingering credit card debt in the amount of $6500.
(2) Pay off Mr. Sam's new car, remaining debt $2500.

Of course, we've added to our debt by buying me a nused car.  But, I'm ignoring that for right now.

I've been chipping away at our credit card debt.  We killed the 0% credit card debt that we took out for tile in one of our rental homes.  Mr. Sam also cancelled that card/account.  As for our revolving credit card (Chase) that has been hanging around since Baby Sam arrived, it is now down to $3809.  I'm utilizing Dave Ramsey tricks by throwing a $100 at it here and there, and sending payments from various checking accounts on the same day.  I expect that Chase will be killed off by mid-March (hoping for end of February).

Mr. Sam's truck is down to $2000 and we have 4 payments left.  I don't plan to pay ahead as we have a 0% situation.  So, by May the truck will be paid in full.

Once the Chase is killed, we really need to ramp up 2015 IRAs savings since the deadline to fund is 4/15/16.  At present we have $2500 in our 2015 IRA savings.  That means we need to find $9000 before 4/15/16.  Our available savings is down because of my nused car purchase.  We do have $4200 in our vacation/travel fund, which means I could likely raid it for a couple of thousand.  And I could probably take $1,000 from savings.  That would mean we need to find $5,500 from other sources in about a month or month and a half.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Pulled the Trigger

I wanted to keep my old car, a 2006 sedan, for another year.  But, it didn't happen.  My old car was simply becoming too unreliable, especially since I'm often driving Baby Sam.  So, my options included investing about $4,000 in repairs or moving on.

I opted to move on.  While I could have kept my old car and invested in repairs, our lifestyle and needs have, with a baby, changed.  Babies bring along stuff, strollers, bikes, pack and play contraptions, etc.  So even if I spent the money to repair my car, I still felt like it no longer fit our needs for a family car.  Mr. Sam has a relatively new truck, but since its an open air bed truck, we don't normally use it for family trips or travel.

We ended up doing the research, test driving several models within the class we were interested in (small SUVs), shopping for the one we settled on, negotiating sale, finding financing, buying the car and selling my old car within a week.

Which means, instead of paying off our car debt this year (Mr. Sam's truck will be paid off by summer), we added a new debt to our family budget.  We paid for my nused car half in cash and then financed the other half at 2.8%.  I was bummed that I couldn't get 0% which is the interest rate on Mr. Sam's truck loan.  But, its a short loan, 24 months so the interest total overall is low.

I'm disappointed that we didn't save up and pay in cash for my nused car, in the same way I was disappointed that we didn't pay cash for Mr. Sam's truck (we basically did the same thing for Mr. Sam's truck, paid half in cash and then financed the other half except we got 0% since it was a new truck).  I believe in Dave Ramsey's plan to never have another car payment in your life, yet here we are with car payments.  On the other hand, I need reliable transportation both for family and work and I didn't want to empty out our savings account solely to avoid taking on the debt.  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Updated 2016 Savings/Financial Goals

Still working on our goal planning, some changes since I last posted.

Definite goals:
(1) Max out 401k for each of us, the limits have not changes for 2016 so that is $18,000 for each of us for a total of $36,000. Automatic payroll debits are in place, I will just need to check them in January
(2) Finish funding our 2015 IRAs - $8900, The 2015 IRAs must be funded by 4/15/16. As such, we will have some heavy upfront savings of about $1110 per pay period between 1/1/16 and 4/15/16.
(3) Fund 2016 IRAs $11,000 for the both of us, this number also is unchanged from 2015.
(4) Baby Sam'college fund, add another $5000 this year.

Tentative goals:
(5) Add to emergency fund, reducing this annual goal to $5000 (this year we saved $10,000)

The above savings goals total $65,900.  The highest savings number we have ever hit with our savings efforts is @$64,000 (back in 2013). So, this would be a stretch for us, especially with our child care expenses for Baby Sam.

I've deleted the nused car savings goal, because I went ahead and bought a nused car in December.  More on that in a later post.

Debt killing goals:
(1) Pay off lingering credit card debt in the amount of $4261 (this was at $6500 in my last post, we've made progress).
(2) Pay off Mr. Sam's new car, remaining debt $2000.

Above debt totals at $6261.

Also, I'd like to reduce our total debt to under $450,000 total.  At present our debt total is at $491,863 (this number went up due to the nused car) which would require killing the above credit and car debt and also killing another almost $35,602 in debt. I think that is this is may be a reachable goal since we paid off @$34,000 in debt this year.

Additional financial goals:
Roll over old 401k to my current employer 401k.  This has been a previous goal, and guess what it is still an item on my to do list.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

2016 Savings/Financial Planning

Starting to think about 2016 savings and financial goals.

Definite goals:
(1) Max out 401k for each of us, the limits have not changes for 2016 so that is $18,000 for each of us for a total of $36,000. Automatic payroll debits are in place, I will just need to check them in January
(2) Finish funding our 2015 IRAs - $8900, The 2015 IRAs must be funded by 4/15/16. As such, we will have some heavy upfront savings of about $1110 per pay period between 1/1/16 and 4/15/16.
(3) Fund 2016 IRAs $11,000 for the both of us, this number also is unchanged from 2015.
(4) Baby Sam'college fund, add another $5000 this year.

Tentative goals:
(5) Add to emergency fund, reducing this annual goal to $5000 (this year we saved $10,000)
(6) Save for a nused car for me $10,000.  My car will be 10 years old next year and its got some expensive repairs that I've been holding off on. I replaced my last car after 9 years of life so I'm thinking this car will need replacing soon.

The above savings goals total $75,900.  The highest savings number we have ever hit with our savings efforts is @$64,000 (back in 2013). So, this would be a big stretch for us, especially with our child care expenses for Baby Sam.

Debt killing goals:
(1) Pay off lingering credit card debt in the amount of $6500.
(2) Pay off Mr. Sam's new car, remaining debt $2500.

Above debt totals at $9000.

Also, I'd like to reduce our total debt to under $450,000 total.  At present our debt total is at $484,848 which would require killing the above credit and car debt and also killing another almost $26,000 in debt. I think that is this is a reachable goal since we paid off @$34,000 in debt this year.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

End of the Year Updates

Well it is December 1, 2015 and I still never got my 2015 savings/debt killing Excel spreadsheet chart from Mr. Sam.  It has been that kind of year, new baby, maternity leave, new baby expenses, balancing work with new baby, child care expenses, etc.  We also converted a rental property to a family property which brought along a ton of expenses as well.

These were my goals from May of this year, posted on one of the other personal finance sites:

(1) Max out 401ks: Goal $36,000
(2) Max out IRAs: Goal $11,000
(3) College fund for Baby Sam: Goal $5,000
(4) Add to emergency fund: Goal $10,000
(4) Pay off baby debt:  Goal $0, started with $7000
(5) Pay off Mr. Sam's truck loan: Goal $0. started with $7500
(6) Save for nused car for me: Goal is $20,000. This is two year goal, so this year's goal is $10,000)
(7) Get total debt under $500,000: $519,000 was thestart of the year number, goal is $499,000, difference of $20,000

Savings goal of $72,000 and
Debt killing goal of $34,500.

So let's start with the bad news.  We only put away $2100 for our 2015 IRAs, we can continue to invest for 2015 until April 15, 2016 so we have some time next year to finish this goal.

Baby debt, well it really morphed into debt, we have rental property conversion debt, some baby debt and just other cr_p debt that popped up this year since our finances were pretty crazy this year.  At present, the misc. credit card debt is $6275.  Can we kill it by year end?  Maybe, but doubtful.  But, I am working on it with renewed focus.

Nused car for me, didn't really happen at all this year,  I put away $400 and that is it.  I did spend some money on the car this year, about $1500 in repairs and the mechanic says I have about $4000 in repairs that could be done but were not necessary at the time.  Need to work on this goal in 2016 as the time is coming, car will be 10 years old as of next year.

The good news, we are on track to max out our 401ks by the end of the year.  At present we are at $33,009 and we will complete the $36,000 goal.

College fund for Baby Sam, we hit this goal as well and we have $5,781 in the 529 plan.  About half of that was from us and the other half from family as we have asked for 529 contributions in lieu of gifts for birthdays, Christmas, etc.

Emergency fund, we are also on track for hitting this goal.  We will have an additional $10,000 into the e/r fund by end of year.  At present we have $19,215 in our e/r fund which sounds like a lot, but it really isn't when you take into account our investment properties.  We have been working on rebuilding our fund after buying Mr. Sam's truck (we paid half in cash) and our IVF, pregnancy and birth expenses.  I've never really figured out how much I want in the e/r fund, but I'd be more comfortable closer to $30,000.  We do have $20,000 in other short term, liquid savings, for things like insurance, taxes, vacations, etc.  So that money is also available if we really got in a jam.

Mr. Sam's truck, we are paying $500 a month, 0% loan and at present we have a $2500 balance.  No current plan to pay ahead, but will be paid off early next year.

And as for getting our debt under $500,000, we easily hit that goal with $34,152 in debt paid off (even including the debts we added during the year).  Our present debt number is $484,848.

So grand, estimated, total for 2015 savings will be:  $53,881  (falling short by $18,119 of our 2015 goals).

And, grand, estimated, debt killing total for 2015 will be:  $34,152 (which does not include additional debt payments that I plan to make) so we basically hit that goal.

Thoughts, how did your 2015 financial year go?  What are you planning for 2016?



Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Updates on Debt

I've recently, as of today, updated our networth debt numbers.  One of our goals for 2015 was to get our total debt load under $500,000 and I'm pleased to report that our debt is now at $489,000.  Since, January 2007, our debt load has gone from $735,054 down to $489,000.  That means, on average we have killed about $30,000 in debt per year since 2007.

On our primary home, purchased in 2004, we have paid off $105,546 in principal.  Since we refinanced our mortgage a couple years ago to 2.75% our payments have accelerated.  We also refinanced from a 25 year loan to a 15 year loan and cut off 7 years from our overall term.  On our three investment property mortgages, as of next month, all three mortgages should be below $100,000.

As for our other debt, I've struggled with credit card debt, pay it down, run it up, pay it down, etc.  I really need to kill it once and for all as its now been hanging around since the baby arrived.  We also have a new debt that is not yet listed, 0% financing on floor tile that we bought for one of our investment properties.  That debt is a couple of thousand dollars.

As for Mr. Sam's new truck, we continue to pay down his truck debt (we paid for his new truck half in cash and half in 0% financing) at $500 a month, so that debt will be gone in seven months.  I really need to be saving for a nused car for me, as my car has been acting up.  Recently it was out of commission for a few weeks with an electrical problem but the fix ended up only costing $250.  There are several other more expensive things wrong with the car, but the dealer says none are pressing to fix as of now.  The dealer gave me a print out of things to fix that would likely cost $4000 which is more than the car is worth.  It was kinda funny as I had started to research my next car.  Since Baby Sam arrived I, of course, want a family car.  But, I'm better off trying to make my car last another year or so as I've only got $400 saved in my nused car fund.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Black Hole

I've entered a deep, dark black hole life otherwise known as being a working professional with a demanding job and also mother to a small baby while also serving as wife, daughter, daughter in law, sister, friend, etc.

There is little sleep here, I tend to run from one emergency to another and feel like I'm spinning my wheels most of the time.  I'm sure there are many out there who have been in my same position.

I just spent three hours in the middle of my busy work day paying bills and trying to noodle out a few financial riddles.

In the process of doing that I figured out that instead of paying our utility bill I paid my tenant's utility bill.  I've got all the accounts set up in bill pay because as the properties revert back to us, in between tenants, we have to pay the utility bill.  I'm sure our tenants will be pleasantly surprised by the credit on their utility account.  No, I'm not going to try and get the money back from them.

I also figured out that in July I paid our mortgage twice and that is why we were so short on cash that month.  The upside, since I've figured that out I don't have to pay November's bill.  I normally would and just stay ahead or ask them to convert the extra payment to principal, but our credit card debt is up to $10,000 so I can put that mortgage money towards that bill.

I don't have a good idea as to where we are on savings goals, my husband who is the Excel spreadsheet guru never set one up for 2015 and we are into Oct.  Hubby's situation is similar to mine except he has been spending his extra time, little that is, turning one of our rental properties into a permanent home for his father.

I know this will get better and being a Mom is such a gift, but right now I feel like I'm doing a mediocre job on everything in my life.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

NetWorth Update

I have updated out networth numbers over on NetworthIQ.com.  That site remains wonky and spotty, but I know how to use it and I can do a quick update when it works.

Angie (a reader here) had told me about NetworthShare.com, and I did create an account and had them port over data, but not all of my data came over.  So I need to spend some time, which I'm perpetually short on these days, bringing the rest of my data over and getting used to the site, etc.

Our expenses have gone way up with Baby Sam which is mostly due to child care costs.  We have also had some cash flow issues since we are converting a rental property.  As a result, we've been relying on our credit card to fill some holes in our monthly budget which I hate to do.

We do have plenty of cash in our savings so its not necessary to do this, but I don't want to take cash from savings.  Its been somewhat circular this summer.  I really, really need to kill the credit card debt once and for all and then cut the card to get us out of this habit.

The positive is that we should be under the $500,000 debt number by end of year (one of our goals).  If I killed the credit card debt we would be below the $500,000 number in a month.  Another positive is that we have stayed above the $2 Million mark (in assets) for a year now.

Otherwise, we continue to struggle with putting money into our IRA 2015 fund, and we will need to work hard on that goal this fall.