The good news the guys

brought home from work yesterday was the man who terrified everyone so bad last Thursday voluntarily committed himself yesterday at a local treatment center.

As a result the sheriff is no longer standing guard over the entrance to their building and parking lot. Everyone is starting to get back to normal. Dh and ds “seem” to be coping, but both are still looking at going to counseling along with most of the office who took off work Friday.

This last week had us paying an extra large payment on the first mortgage

which was a Christmas gift to all of us. We are finally under the $60,000 mark for the combined total of both mortgages, hoping to drop it more this week. We are getting close enough to the end of the first mortgage that even our minimum payments put a major chunk against the principal. That helps make those teddy bears dance more on the countdown calendar for certain.

I was very thankful both my men are good about cooking and helping with clean-up because Wednesday I came down with the crud and they ended up doing a lot of the Thanksgiving cooking and cleaning. I wrote out a schedule of what to do when, did what I could of the more complicated tasks and they handled everything else. Including all of the clean-up. That was wonderful.

This weekend we did almost all of our Christmas shopping, no we didn’t go to the stores, we went to the computers, lists in hand and shopped the sales. I didn’t feel like leaving the house for some strange reason. I know cyber Monday is today, but we wanted to simply get it done. I’ve got a few small things to purchase locally for stockings and such, but we are pretty much finished with our Christmas shopping.

Now to just get the cards made and out, and the tree up. We are all in a major Christmas spirit this year and have been watching the sappy Christmas shows since the first of November, although carols have not hit our stereo yet, probably this week. LOL!

We are finally getting around to estate planning

We met with a lawyer today…wow lots of decisions to make for contingency planning, but it’s been worth it!

I had thought for a while that it was only needed when you had a lot of money to pass along, but with a 4 year old, it’s imperative.

It also helped us find some finanial issues! Reporting all of our bank balances made me realize we have way too many :). I’m an out of sight out of mind person, so kept tiny amounts in various accounts thinking I wouldn’t spend it when it is inconvient..but it really makes no sense at all, so I’ll be combining some accounts. And, most importantly, when my husband went to confirm the amount of life insurance we have for me through his company, his benefits said “waived”! When he changed positions this past May, the HR person said it would all carry over. Apparently there was a glitch and it didn’t!!!! Since it was only like 1.50 a month, he hasn’t noticed that they hadn’t been taking it out. Ugh!!! More reason to read those pay stubs very carefully every month!!!

re: shopping for land

are you kidding? That would be completely AWESOME. After DH’s call this week about handwriting on the walls, I started checking out how much it would cost us to go to Texas for a week to get the “lay of the land” (pun intended) if he lined up some job interviews.I think I can get us there and back for $300 in gas, plus another $300 for a week of lodging/meals. So we can’t do too many of those, but if he was able to schedule a LOT of job interviews the same week, then it would be worth it.

Hooking up with some homesteaders who likely will not think I am TOO BIG of a whackadoodle for wanting a place where we can be self-reliant, would be great.

Knowing it is not IF we are going to move it is WHEN has made it hard to decide what to do with $$. DR would say put it in a money market account, but it’s not going to grow there. I can take up to $10,000 out of a Roth for a 1 time house purchase, and so can DH, so combined we could put all our savings in Roths, and pull $20k out without penalty or taxes to pay for land or a house.

My 2 Cents:

1. Pay off the last CC in January. We will then be Original Debt Free.

2. I want to save $20,000 by next October.

I will have a $6,500 jump-start by end of December due to my mother’s death. It is an unexpected gift, and it will go straight into a Roth with an aggressive growth mutual fund to grow it as much as we can.

Since we will be original debt free by January, beginning in February I should be able to save $1500 a month. If I stick to that plan, it will amount to $13,500 by end of October, which when combined with the $6,500, will amount to $20k. This will allow us to move to Texas (we are assuming the landlord will make good on his promise and put our place up for sale in October) with enough of a nest egg to move and/or pay cash for a house.

I almost bought 3/4 acre this week in Dallas metro. I’m trying not to succumb to “the fever.”

3.. DH needs to start job hunting in Texas.

The signs of closure coming are already appearing on the walls at work. He has a major project lined up with Toyota which will go through spring/early summer, so unless they do a major layoff en masse he will likely be one of the last to go, but we knew when he took this job that we would get 3 years max, out of it. (Short version of a long story….they’re an overseas based company, and it has to do with Immigration, Politics, Company visas for their higher ups, etc.) So it’s a year earlier than we anticipated, but not entirely unexpected.

I told DH that “if the end comes” we are WAY better positioned than we were when he was fired 2 years ago. And this time, we will do what we should have done last time which is just suck up the $1,000 and send him job hunting in Dallas metro for a month. Plus I think if we start unemployment here, we can keep it going in Texas until he finds work, and the cost of housing is WAY WAY less there.

4. Lose 50 lbs

5. Save any extra income (beyond $1500/month) in a FFEF.

I’m thinking $8k will cover it, and if it turns out we don’t “need” it (ha!) I will use it to pay off DH’s motorcycle.

6. Line up extra work gigs.

I have a feeling (shared by the foster parents) that I am going to be out of a job come January. They think bio-dad’s parents are going to put in for custody of the baby, which if they do, will likely be granted.

We are dumping a lot on it right now

We are in effect paying double on the principle and interest. It means we still have a pretty straightforward budget for the next few years …. not a lot in the form of entertainment, eating out, and other extras … however we are blessed beyond what we deserve and it WILL pay off one day ….. hopefully sooner rather than later at – custom writing service. We do have a restaurant budget (separate from the grocery budget) and have a little entertainment budget and sometimes I feel very deprived but I keep telling myself it’s only for a short while.

Oh you wouldn’t believe the pressure ds

and I put on him after last Thursday, but he’s digging in his heels. Mortgage has to be totally gone, and repairs done before he’ll consider it. So guess who is making a BIG payment today on the mortgage, once it is done we will be under the $60,000 mark for the total.

Hey all! Thought I would share a little info I learned today

I have a secured credit card with CapitalOne… its pretty old, and I had actually forgotten it started as a secured (after some time they just made it a regular card with a high limit, but retained my initial small deposit) until I was looking just earlier today online at my statement.

This card is the next one on my list to be paid off and closed, so that was why I was looking intently.

Anywho – after realizing it was a secured card (meaning I paid CapitalOne money to start the account) I was wondering if the amount of my secured deposit might just cover the remaining balance and effectively zero out and pay this one off.

It does and it doesn’t…

So what they told me is yes I can close the card today and they will apply the deposit amount to the remaining balance, but not until AFTER it is closed. Meaning they will report to the credit bureaus it was closed with a balance remaining due (which may affect my score).

My other option is to pay them the full amount as planned, then once the card is at 0 balance close the account, and they’ll mail me a check for my deposit.

Its apples to apples… but I have opted to just play their silly game. Closing this account will probably lower my score a little bit anyhow, and I don’t want to lower it so much that my car insurance rate goes up or something else silly and illogical but yet plausible.

If any of you have secured cards, secured loans, etc – know that you need to pay off in full, then get your deposit refund for it not to show a balance due on your credit report!

My goals for 2015:

1.) Make some sort of chart like Jan makes for her debt goals – I am a visual person and the activity of seeing my debt reduce would help to motivate me :-). I have my spreadsheet, but a constant activity will keep my on track.
2.) Get solar panels installed on our home while the feds are still offering the 30% rebate.
3.) Plant a vegetable garden
4.) Gets dads secret pickling recipe and pickle those veggies
5.) Eat healthier (cut processed foods as much as possible, bring fruits and nuts to work for snacks)

Goals for 2015

No, it’s not too early! Actually, it’s kinda LATE… We have a month left in 2014. What are your goals in the next year for debt reduction, improved savings, increased income? We could even expand this to other areas – fitness, learning, reading, enjoyment of life…

I’ll have to get back to you with my goals – I haven’t written them either. :-) I was just reminded about goals from an e-mail from a financial newsletter…

The “star for the day” came when

I re-negotiated our land lease contract so that it more accurately reflected what we wanted and needed and could afford. Then I set out to determine ways to pay for that which wouldn’t be quite so ouchy. That portion of my homework is still in motion; I have several potential ways to pay for it but I haven’t landed any of the cash yet. My goal is to do so within the next two weeks, rather than wait until the very end of the month to meet the Jan 1st deadline. I also shopped around for a suitable care package gift for my SIL who is home recovering from her auto accident. I was able to find a good selection of good-condition National Geographics available online that I could send to her. Sent her an entire year’s selection of Natl Geog’s for a grand total of $9.47, shipping included. That’ll give her plenty to read when she gets tired of Netflix. A second star for the day event during the week was that my truck was having some cold-morning startup issues, and we went back through the maintenance records and realized it hadn’t had new coolant/antifreeze put in since we acquired it 6 years ago. Plus it was horribly overdue for an oil change. So in my new enthusiasm for being able to pay for stuff, I took it down to the neighborhood lube place and an hour later, it had new fluids. Starts and runs a lot better now. A third star for the day came when I started to consider again whether we should start unloading some unneeded equipment to generate more income; the more I looked around this weekend the more potentially sellable stuff I found. My motivation to get our debt paid off in time for my Sept 2015 deadline is starting to weigh on me since current earnings won’t quite do the trick. I feel myself moving into that frame of mind that DR described, where we’re so motivated to unload stuff to bring in extra cash, the kids start thinking they might be next. I’m just about there.

The “dog ate my homework” portion was that I was pretty sure I could cover the Nat’l Geogs and truck servicing within my normal weekly cash flow, but I didn’t check first to make sure. And it turns out I had a few bills come due this week, along with our free-range, organically fed, heritage breed turkey purchase that I sorta forgot about. So I had to scramble to make sure everything was covered. Ended up taking money out of one of the sinking funds which was originally intended for something else. As if that wasn’t enough, the truck servicing came the morning that I normally fill my cash envelopes. So instead of doing that methodically before I got going, I took the truck in first to try to get it done before all my other errand-running for the day (like going to the bank). Then the rest of the day I felt like I was behind the 8-ball because I didn’t go through the now-familiar routine of filling my envelopes and knowing how much I can put towards each item. Note to self: don’t do that in the future! Go to the bank FIRST!!

Um, yeah..

I spent a LOT of money this weekend(about $1000). Much of it was from money won in bowling jackpots the past couple of weeks. I bought a bunch of rocket stuff from a guy who is going through a divorce and foreclosure. I got more than $600 worth of stuff for $200. I also took a bunch of stuff to sell for him on ebay or whatever, so I can earn ‘commission’ from that. And then I bought an electronic percussion unit for my music studio. So now I *really* have to get some stuff recorded, otherwise that money is wasted. Motivation..

I knew it was coming (and half heartedly was hoping for it)

but I was hoping it would at least last through December. The job I had babysitting the foster baby just wasn’t working out. I encouraged them to find someone else who would better suit their needs (he wants a person who cleans the house 95% of the time and cares for the baby 5% of the time and she wants someone who can stay there 10 hours straight a day; neither of which is me. I could write reams about both false expectations someday when I need a laugh.)

I am grateful that I recognized this job for what it was: God providing us a way to be original debt free by year end. After this Friday I will only have 1 CC left, and I should be able to earn enough in December and January to pay that off (or else I’ll use the money inherited from my mother.)

On the other hand, because I knew it was only a matter of time before this ended, I started upping my availability with the nurse. This week for example, I’ll end up working 22 hours for her. That’s the same amount I would have worked at the baby’s, but it’s way less disruptive to my family. The problem is that the nurse job isn’t consistent, whereas the baby more or less was.

We have done a great job being intentional with the baby’s checks, fell off the wagon a week here or there, but for the most part it went directly to debt. So I just need to keep that up with the nurse checks.

Thanks for all the support from this group–couldn’t do it without you.

One of the important aspects of the DR plan was

driven home to me hard on Thursday. Some of you already know where this is going.
If you people haven’t got your Legacy Drawer put together I really want to stress to you how important this is and hopefully what I am about to tell you will bring about the good of you getting your own affairs in order.
We’ve got ours started and have a lot of the details worked out, but have never made it to the lawyer to draw up our wills. Thankfully I don’t need my dh’s will, but there was a point Thursday when we both thought I might need it.
Dh very nearly became one of those “news stories” you read about, but think it will never happen to someone you know.
His brush with danger started mid-afternoon and I heard about it from ds after the danger was over. Thankfully our children were raised to always start with “Everything’s okay, Dad’s not hurt” Or I may have had a stroke when ds called me to tell me that dh had found himself locked in an office with a fellow employee that was having a psychotic break. As it was going down no one knew if the man was armed or not, not even dh for certain. Dh was extremely worried about the possibility when the guy started talking about the fact he had Kevlar on under his chain saw pants.
The first ds knew that his father was in possible danger was when they evacuated the floor, and of course they wouldn’t let him go to his father. To say the stress was hard on both of them would be an understatement.
What details I do know are sketchy, no one is even certain what sent the man off. The police were called, but before they got there the bosses managed to get in the office and remove the co-worker from dh’s vicinity. Luckily no one was hurt. As soon as dh was safe ds called me, because of course dh was being questioned by everyone as to exactly what had happened.
I of course became a basket case here at home waiting to hear dh’s voice to reassure me that he was fine. I want to thank Keisha so much for holding my hand virtually while this was all going on, she helped me get myself under control before dh called me. He did so about one hour later, the first chance he got to call me. He maintained his clarity of mind and handled the situation just like he should and that is probably why he walked out of the office physically unharmed. He waited until he was home before it hit him how much danger he had been in.
The bosses kept calling on and off all evening and told him to take as many days off as he needed with pay. It seems they had sent the guy home earlier in the day and told him not to come back until he spoke with a “therapist”. They didn’t disable his security pass, nor had they told all the employees. Had they done so, dh would have never been in that office with him alone. They had just started the process of telling the employees one by one that if the guy was spotted in the building or parking lot to notify security immediately. It was one of them on the way to tell dh that realized the warning had came too late and called security and 911. I owe that man a lot.
The whole incident made me realize what all my bad dreams I’ve been having this last month were about and why in each dream my deceased fil would show up. I fully believe that dh’s guardian angel is his father and Alvin was there helping dh stay calm and handle the situation.
We had already planned a weekend getaway to Silver Dollar City for their Old Time Christmas Festival, so we left the next morning instead of the original late afternoon we had planned.
The getaway helped him recover to some extent. He truly enjoyed the good Christian atmosphere of SDC, the holiday decorations and the wonderful Broadway style productions of Dicken’s Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, A living nativity (all of which were musicals) as well as a lot of good musical shows throughout the park. It really helped him relax.
I did notice him getting tenser and tenser as we got closer to home, but he says he is going into work tomorrow. Ds and I think he should see the counselor the company has offered to pay for, for all the employees. Ds is planning on seeing him himself because the terror of nearly losing his father has been giving him nightmares.
In just a blink of an eye, I could have lost the one I love the most. Praise the Lord it didn’t happen.
It could have happened, but thank God it didn’t, but it could have. Sometime during the weekend dh mentioned he thought we needed to get the wills made asap, because you never know what could happen, we hadn’t completed our Legacy drawer and he thought we really needed to. I agreed whole heartedly. After all, it’s not just him that needs a will, but myself and ds. We are all working out the details more clearly now.

So this morning I logged on my local freecycle just to browse

(OK it usually starts this way, then I see a post for an offer I just cant refuse… sigh…)

A member posted about adopting a family for Christmas that needs some items. Guess what? A lot of the items she needs I have hidden in those laundry room cabinets I need to clean.

Getting rid of a bunch of childrens toys, some electronics, and even an old bicycle I dont ever use anymore.

Now that I have someone benefitting from my decluttering, I am more motivated than ever to get that room cleared out. Feels so good to give my junk to become someone elses treasures.