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Saturday, February 2, 2008

January Month In Review



January is over and it is time to fess up and do a little review.

It was actually a good month with some challenges, a crop of Ninja Bills and staying on track with all of my goals, I even got some great news last night!

High Points:

  • Net Worth Increased $1,217 - This is from the debt reduction, got below my minimum that I keep in checking, but this was really artificially low as I was paid Friday and checking is back to normal levels
  • Debt Decreased $1,310 - Car come down a chunk and this is the next Snowball debt after my State Farm CC. I am looking forward to no more car payment!
  • Did my taxes Friday Night - My rebate is way better then I thought it would be. Between State and Federal I will get back $8037.15! This is good and bad news. The money will go to fully fund Property Taxes for 2008 (due in October) and Christmas 2008. The remainder will go towards Snowball #6 effectively cutting it in half! The bad part is I gave the government a non-interest loan of $8037.15! It was our first year in the house and we had unexpected medical bills as well that we could deduct, so I won't beat myself to bad.

A quick funny story; after I finished the taxes and e-filed then I went to my wife and said with a long face "well, guess how much..." as I poured a cocktail..."Looking that you are pouring a drink, we owe, huh"...I say, "How much do you think?" She says, "Well we have $2200 in savings, so $2300." I say "No, it is a much bigger number..."

"Great" she pauses, "not so much it will make us use our credit cards, we've been so good... (what a turn-around BTW)" I say, "it is $8037.15..." She goes completely white..."What are we gonna do..." I say, well first we are gonna put our 2008 property taxes and Christmas money away and pay off half of debt three :)"

She hits me smiling!..and calls me a jerk...then asks me to run it again :) I pour her one too, and we toast!

Points to Work on:

  • Ninja's of my Own Making - Besides two of the kids needing new winter coats, we had a really high Gas bill and Electric Bill. We cut Entertainment and Dining to help pay them, everyone is more motivated to do better! However, I didn't plan for the following...my Mother-in-laws birthday, My step-Fathers Birthday or...my birthday, doh! We did a great job at planning the girls birthday funds in completely slipped my mind to build their gift amounts in to Microsoft Money...Won't make that mistake again. We all chipped in to cover the amounts, but we did go over budget there, effectively erasing other gains.
  • Balancing out Payment between check - A bunch of my payments are due when our house payment is, and given that takes most of my check I need to do a better job planning when to pay debts and bills. Built a little tool into my master sheet in Excel to help!
  • Got over zealous - Moving money into saving that looked like extra...not so fast Hoss...had to move it back due to NinjaBills and poor income allocation...Doh!

Goals:

  • Pay Off StateFarm CC - $2836.22 - Payment is due 2/10 you'll see a good drop next month along with extra payment due to taxes
  • Pay Off Car - $4594.87 - Down to $4316, or $280 less!
  • Pay Off CC CitiBank Platinum - $8989.16 - Minimums here until the Snowball show comes to town
  • Pay off all CC Debt - Working it!
  • Save 100% 2008 PropertyTaxes - $5000 - w00t! Should be checked off by the end of the month...ahead of time!
  • Keep Snowball 100% Intact - Yo Joe!
  • No CC Use - For the Fourth month! Never thought it was possible! Now can't believe it wasn't!
  • Increase Average FICO-Score to 720 - Moved from an average of 692.7 across the major three to 699.0, so close to my short-term goal. At one point 5 years ago we had a 510 score! You CAN repair your score, believe me. I check this every month through www.truecredit.com (I am NOT and affiliate - just like the service) For $14.95 a month they monitor and email me any issues with my credit report. In addition I can a report with FICO for each whenever I want, even multiple times a month. For a stat junkie like me it is awesome.
  • Stick to Cash Budget System - Yep, and loving it!
  • Net Worth increased by $20,000 - Only up $1200 this month, but a lot of pluses coming down the pike. 2008 Tax rebate, Tax Stimulus money (hopefully the Senate doesn't kill it!), my review is Monday and bonus in April...It will be tight, but I believe we can do it!

Well, that is about as full disclosure as I can get. I guess if I am gonna spew advice, the least you can do is see where I am. I am not a financial adviser, just a marketing slub trying to get out of debt and build a bright future just like you using our budget, debt reduction and basic money management to get there...it is a marathon, not a sprint!

(BTW - That pic is a calendar available from Barnes and Noble -thought it fit the article!)

9 Comments:

Kansas Simplicity said...

This is tremendous progress for you and your family. Congratulations for starting the year out with such great momentum and I am curious about how your children are re-acting. Maybe a post on how the children are changing would be of interest yet your Blog as your are the Czar of this web sit!

Again, congratulations and your work will no doubt inspire others to change their lives and remove the burden of debt and lifestyle from their lives.

SavingDiva said...

Congratulations on making progress toward your goals! Also, I'm glad that you're planning on using your refund wisely.

When I looked at your net worth IQ, I noticed that you aren't reporting any retirement savings. Is this because you're not counting it as part of your net worth or you don't have anything saved for retirement?

RacerX said...

@Kansas - Thanks so much for the encouragement! That is a great idea for a post on the kids. It really has been a sea-change in their reactions to money and debt. I do hope to inspire other, as YOU have inspired me!

@SavingDiva - Thanks for the encouragement. Unfortunately you are right on the Retirement. a couple of years ago we had a medical issue that paying back tapped everything. We didn't want to tap our 401K, but we had no choice. My current job offers no 401K matching so I am not contributing until I work through steps 2 and 3(Paying off consumer debt then 3-6 month fund) At that point I will be able to contribute 12%+ to retirement. Given all potential income during that time we are about 24 months away from that. Lame but true...

Thank you both for commenting!

paradigmshifted said...

hey, this looks great! and way to go on getting a decent tax return. it's not so bad about the interest-free loan, consider it money you didn't end up spending on a ninja bill, so now it can fully go to debt/taxes, etc. :)

I notice that a lot of people put their actual numbers on their sites. I'm not super comfortable doing that (though I do have an NCN chart). I think you're right about accountability though...

RacerX said...

I totally understand you reluctance. We talked about it here first, and that is why I use a pen name.

On the Tax return, for the last 3 years I had to pay in...a lot! So a little gun-shy. We also have hopes to flip our loan at some point so the interest would be less.

Thanks for commenting!

Lauren said...

That's amazing progress! That's awesome that you are going to put your return towards paying down your debt and savings rather than running out and buying something.

RacerX said...

...didn't say it wasn't tempting...Vision of sugarplum danced in out heads!

But we have a Success Map now and we are determined to follow it!

Thanks for commenting and visiting!

Fiscal Musings said...

Though it's already been said, congrats on the great progress. And I must say that's a heck of a return...

RacerX said...

Thanks a bunch! It will feel good knowing that those two bills are saved for already.

The great thing about having the blog is that even if you are tempted to spend the money, you'ld feel silly explaining it to everyone. Positive Peer Pressure!

Thanks for visiting!

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