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2nd entry, actually 3rd...

December 29th, 2005 at 04:00 am

Wow, I was so impressed that my first entry worked that I posted a long 2nd entry telling a bit about myself and some goals, but alas, it didn't get added after I pressed the add entry button. As I said in the first entry, I am not computer-literate, but I won't take this as defeat. I can be persisent!

The lost entry was a slightly lenghty account of myself and our financial picture. Maybe I'll try short and sweet. I'm married (21 years) with 4 daughters (15, 13, 10, & 8.) We live in an older house with a small mortgage and own free and clear two older vans. We just finished paying off braces for d15, but will be starting up again for d13 in the next few months. We have a few medical bills and hospital stay for d15 from November. When it all happened, I called the insurance and was told how much our portion would be. Just got the bill from the hospital at the end of last week, and surprise, it's not even close to the that amount. Several hours talking to many people resulted in "oops, it your problem." Oh well, not fun to pay, but at least we are not in a panic about it. We will make use of the hospital's 'make payments for three months at no interest' plan. Our most unfortunate financial entity is our cc. It's at about $11,000. I wish I could say it was for fun and/or toys, because then I could say Hey! this is where we need to cut back. Nope, it was for very mundane things through the years, such as big van repairs (my husband does the maintenance and a lot of repairs to keep those vans running, but occasionally we've needed to have some big repairs done by others - our theory is it is still cheaper than making car payments, though each year makes that debatable.) The other thing we've used the cc for is medical expenses and large household repairs. We try to pay more than the required minimum most months, but some like December get the minimum.

The other side of our picture is that we have retirement accounts with levels set at company matches. Our regular savings....well, that is the making of a goal for the coming year. In general, we live paycheck to paycheck. My husband works as an installer of security and fire alarms, and we are very lucky he has use of a company van that he can come home in (can't be used privately, but that's not a problem.) I was a sahm for 11 years and started working again in 2001. I work not even two blocks from my house for the local school district's early childhood program as a teaching assistant in preschool. We horde money for the summer (I have the school calendar work schedule and am not working in the summer) as well as for the bigger things that come up (such as the initial costs of braces, summer camping trips, Christmas...) So as you can probably deduce, we can live with our normal expenses and do a little extra beyond (pick one- Fun like camping and Christmas or Obligations like repairs and braces or Paying down the cc.)

Some goals that I'd like to work on initially include building a bigger savings cushion for those inevitable car and home and whatever costs. We always manage (better now than a while ago,) but I'd like to get that cc balance down if not soon gone. And now, it's either pay for repairs, etc with minimum payments to the cc. And after 21 years, I should and do know that stuff always happens...and it usually costs. Another thing that I'd like to do is consolidate our various retirement accounts. I've always been a public employee in some way and form, with one account through the years, all in one easy place. My husband, who does stay at jobs long-term, has several different vested accounts, due to company sell-outs, etc. I, who likes the checking account balanced to the last penny, find it hard to keep tabs on it all. (I like diversity in our funds, but this is too much!) Last, I think we get complacent on what we spend our money on. It seems like we are pretty frugal, but I know it's easier to just sit back and assume we're doing our best effort. I would like to look at where the money goes, and see if that's what we want to be doing.

Btw, I'm lucky in that I can say 'we' over and aver. While my husband does NOT keep the checkbook to the last penny (not his strength at all,) he is definitely a great partner for this. He is game to try out new things and different ways. Most of all, he and I have similar ideas of wants, needs and goals, so again I know I'm lucky (yup, he is too!) Now, our daughters on the other hand....well, at least, they are understand that not all wealth is monetary. Though they would hardly be opposed to some more of that monetary wealth coming their way!

Ok, not so short and sweet, though if you saw the lost entry... you would see that this one is.

Next time, I'd like to be more specific on how to achieve the following goals:

Goal 1 - increase our savings cushion

Goal 2 - consolidate or get on top of the several retirement and investment accts

Goal 3 - analyze our spending and see if it's in the way we want

That's all for now....take care!

First Entry

December 29th, 2005 at 03:58 am

I've been browsing this web site for a few months and have loved reading everyone's journals and the forums. Now I want to take the plunge. I'm not the most computer-literate, but I find that muddling through things works fairly well most times. So here it goes....