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Archive for December, 2007

Budgeting, Taxes and other random stuff

December 30th, 2007 at 04:40 pm

So I'm having a problem making a budget. It's SO hard on a variable income, and Dave Ramsey's sheet in the back of his book is confusing me, which is nothing new being that numbers of any type confuse me. The way my paychecks work is that I get paid for the previous month the current month. For example, at the end of November, I handed a bill to my boss with all the work I did and the total of what she owes me. Then the first friday of December, I get four checks equally divided (and when there's five Fridays that month, five checks). Being that it varies from month to month, it's just hard to budget! I think I'm going to spend a lot of time today researching budgets online with variable incomes.... I usually make around the same each month, but it can be really high or (god forbid, which I fear for january) a lot lower. It just depends on the work I had that month. I'm going to have to step it up an insane amount if I want to get us out of this mess, which will mean working every weekend and working late. I don't care though!

Taxes. When I got my last paycheck (which I don't have in front of me, so numbers are approximate) I found a percentage calculator online to see how much percent I paid in taxes. Like I said earlier, I'm awful with numbers, but I kept coming up with the number that I paid 28% in taxes [when I first did that, I had the exact #'s in front of me]. Does that sound insanely high for someone who made roughly $56,000, or am I really just that naive, or can I not even use a simple percent calculator correctly (hope that last one is that case)?? I paid approximately $15,000 in taxes. I claim single and 0 even though we're married, being that I really don't ever want to owe, and I *always* used to owe. Plus we do have the rent money from out tenant this year that we'll have to pay taxes on. But 30%?? That seems like a LOT. I'll get my check and put the exactly money withheld later and exactly how much I made, but at the very least I paid $14,000 in taxes, although it was closer to $15k, I believe. Hrmph.

Happy Holidays, and all that stuff!

December 25th, 2007 at 03:38 pm

So Merry Christmas to everyone, happy holidays, blah, blah, blah. (I'm such a Scrooge)

This has been the first year we've done NO presents, and told everyone NOT to buy presents for us. Of course my parents didn't listen and gave us some $$$ last night (they said buy what you'd like, but it's going to the emergency fund!) and $150 in mall gift certificates. I'm happy for the gift certificates, but I'd rather have the cash. There is nothing we need at the mall, but since our two-year anniversary is in a few days, we can each take one and go shopping and buy the other an anniversary gift, which otherwise we wouldn't have been able to do, so that makes me a little happy : )

I thought I would be sad for Christmas morning to come and not have any presents to open, but it's been sooooo nice not having to fight the crowds and buy gifts for people and worry about how to pay for them. This girl I work with and her husband are in the exact same position as we are as far as money goes, the only difference being that we're trying hard to get out of this mess while it seems she's getting further in. She opened a new credit card at Sam's Club in order to buy her husband an iPod for Christmas!! Eek! I'm sure that's on top of the million other gifts she bought, as her family is gift/spending crazy when it comes to Christmas. Too bad. I've tried to tell her about Dave Ramsey's book, but she really didn't care.

So yeah, I'm now all for no gift Christmas every year. Not having the added expense and stress of Christmas was just fabulous. It's going to be SO nice to go into the New Year without NEW extra credit card debt (what we have is enough, thankyouverymuch) and our teensy little emergency fund still intact.

I have a such a positive outlook for 2008 (can't wait for January to see about a raise at work....*crosses fingers*) I am going to work as hard as I possibly can to get this debt erased!!

Open letter to my Emergency Fund

December 15th, 2007 at 04:39 pm

Dear Emergency Fund,

I know we didn't get to know each other too well, being that you were around for about a WEEK, but I just wanted to let you know it was really nice having you around, just knowing that you were there for me in my time of need. I just really appreciated your company a lot.
I know things went fast so between us. You came and left so quickly. I don't want you to think I was pushing you away, but let's be honest; you are an "emergency fund" and as far as I'm concerned, it's considered an emergency when dental surgery is involved. I'm sorry, Emergency Fund, that I chose to have a root canal instead of you. Please don't take it personally! It's not you, it's me. I chose my own selfish needs of having a front tooth and not being in pain instead of you.
Don't fret. There will be a day very soon when we will be together again. I promise. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that we will be reunited swiftly so that you and I together can set out on our mission to do all the things that we dreamed of togehter.
And let's look on the bright side. It's not like I used you for something friviolus to satisfy my own wants. You wenre't replaced with Guitar Hero, a new computer, a nice pair of boots. I didn't cast you aside to go on vacation or grocery shopping or Christmas gifts or to pay bills. I hope you take some comfort in that.
Well, I bid you farewell for now. I still have a very small piece of you with me ($256.50) and will work on rebuilding you back up to the $1000 emergency fund you once were! I promise. And thanks again for being there when I needed you, because I don't know what I would have done without you!!!

Much Love,
Me
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(p.s. for anyone who is wondering, our foster dog is officially home now! She's 20 lbs. underweight and needs much TLC to get back on her feet. She got spayed this week [the shelter pays for it] and is recovering from that, and she seems to have a few behavior issues that we'll need to work on, but I'm so glad she didn't get PTS as this girl will make a wonderful pet for a loving family one day!)

Woohoo!

December 8th, 2007 at 04:27 pm

Well, looks like baby step one is *almost* complete! I got an x-mas bonus check and cashed it, so I have my $1000 emergency fund sitting right in front of me. I have $750 here, about $256 in the savings account, which I think I'm going to just take the money out and close it, being that if you don't have $200 in there, they charge you like $5 a month. Being that I'm going to keep the emergency $$$ here in the house (hmm, gotta find a good hiding spot)

Wait second! 750 + 256 is $1006!! OMG, I've got my emergency fund!!! YAY!! Wow, I only started reading the book less than a week ago : ) I thought this was going to be the hardest step for me, as I've never just had a thousand bucks that wasn't going for something. Yeah, it's mostly from the x-mas bonus, but still.... good thing we're not doing gifts this year : ) I'm so excited : ) I've got to go finish the book now and make my gazelle-like intensity plan of attack : )

On an off-topic note, my husband and I have decided to foster a dog for the local shelter. Food and vet bills and medication are paid for through them, so it's only our time and love that's required. Shelters are full right now, so now a poor dog that wouldn't thrive in a shelter environment or has special needs will get a chance to be the awesome dog they can be. : ) We're going down there Tuesday to meet the dog and our dog is going to meet her to make sure they get along. I already know it will be hard to let a dog go after fostering it, but knowing they're going to their "forever home" eventually is wonderful. Being that I don't have the $$$ to donate, this is perfect and probably better than donating money or toys : )

Well, off to go get some work done, read more of Total Money Makeover, close my savings account and HIDE the emergency fund!

Well, it's a start!

December 4th, 2007 at 10:07 pm

I got Dave Ramsey's book from the library and read a good chunk of it yesterday... I feel so optimistic : ) I'm going to read a ton tonight. I figure the faster I read it, the faster I can get started.

Of course, I already gave myself a little pat on the back today. I was downtown at work at had some time to kill before this job I had to go to at 2:00, and I thought, hmm, I'd LOVE a sandwich from a certain sandwich place that is to *die* for. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water. But I knew that a drink and the sandwich would cost $6.01... it was really hard to fight to keep my $6.01! But I thought to myself "What's going to make me happier? Paying of debt or this sandwich [that's also going to make me fat]" So I went about my merry way and didn't get said delicious sandwich. Even though it's only $6, It's still MY $6 in MY pocket. Because of my new outlook on things, I'm already $6 closer to paying off my debt : ) *pat pat*

I signed up for online bill pay though my bank. Although I'm not sure how I'm going to pay off the cc's as far as order, I know there's one in particular that is a giant monster looming in front of me. There's a few smaller ones I might tackle first, but in the meantime, any extra $$$ I htink I can spare I'm going to throw on the big monster debt. I figure even if I only do $10 here a week, $10 there a week, it's going to add up fast. I don't know though, because I haven't finished Total Money Makeover yet.

Guess I should be doing that now. I have a feeling I'll be writing a LOT more lately!