The Cat’s Out of the BagI’ve been living in squalid conditions for over a year.

Rice and beans, beans and rice, right?

I was too “busy” paying down my debt to notice, right?

Cutting corners, you know, to save money?

That’s how I can justify how horrible that room looks…

Please?

Well, not exactly.

While I am horribly ashamed of that photo of the entry way to my home, the rest of the house isn’t like that at all.

If it were, I mean, dontcha think I’d be a prime candidate for the police to come barging through the door with a camera crew in tow for a taping of the show Cops?

The setting is almost too perfect. All it needs is a plaid couch with cigarette burns in the cushions and domestic beer cans strewn randomly about the floor…

My crime would be driving without a front license plate. (Did you know that they’re required?)

“Suspect is a white male of average build. Last seen driving a late model BMW in the vicinity of Gargamel’s castle…”

But now that I’ve shamed myself on the internet (what was I thinking?), it’s time to get things moving on this room (and entire first floor, while I’m at it) and set up a budget for 2009 to pay for it all, which I’ll start in November.

In the months ahead, I have one bill to pay that will likely be paid from my savings account. My horrible homeowners insurance premium is $902 (ouch!) and it’s due on December 18.

Aside from that, though, the month-to-month finances should remain consistent from here on out. No trips planned, no weddings scheduled, no huge holiday expenditures on the horizon, and we never really spend much for our birthdays (which are in the summer anyway). Basically, it’s an empty schedule.

Also, in an effort to speed things up even more, I’m going to try to get my wife on board — wipe out her credit card and boost her savings. A lot.

But my savings need the most work…

Resorting back to what worked so well while paying down debt, I realize that the only way to go is to make it automatic and then, if anything is left over, keep throwing that on to the pile too.

At the height of my pay down, it wasn’t unusual for me to make 7-8 payments to the same creditor in a week’s time. I’ve got to grow my savings the exact same way. If I find $5 in my winter coat pocket, that’s enough to initiate a transfer. Just do it.

So what’s my ultimate plan?

I’d like to be able to save up at least 1/3 of the cost of the remodeling cost before we get started. I’m not saying that I’ll use it all at the onset of the project, but for peace of mind, if nothing else, I want to have it available before I commit myself to such a huge debt load.

The remaining 2/3 would be financed on credit cards.

I know, I know, if you’re new to this site, that must sound crazy. Who’s willing to charge that much?

Well, that’s the method we used on the siding project and it was a whole lot more cost effective than the more common home improvement loan route we took for the roof the year before.

If you’ve got the right cards, the right offers, and a zero balance, you can borrow tens of thousands of dollars at well under 5 percent. No bank or contractor can offer financing that approaches that.

So, to begin, I’m going to continue the auto savings plan I started this month where I’m transferring $400 per month into an ING savings account. I may not reserve it for a vehicle purchase anymore, but I’m not going to cancel the transfer series either.

I was also planning to step up my extra mortgage payments from $50/week to $165/week to keep me on pace to have the mortgage paid off by 2015, but now, instead, I’m going to send that to my savings account plus what I would have been contributing to my savings account anyway and all of my passive income.

All together, on a good month (you know, when my clients actually pay their invoices), that would be around $2310 going in to savings right off the top. That’s freakin’ huge.

Basically, almost $10k every 4 months.

Sounds lofty. Borderline un-realistic.

Probably is.

I’m not really sure, I’ve never not had huge bills to pay…

The plan starts next week.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Keep working on it! My wife and I are working hard on getting debt free too and can only imagine how exciting it must be to be at/near the end as you are and be able to plan for purchases rather than plan to pay off purchases from years ago.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. “Suspect is a white male of average build. Last seen driving a late model BMW in the vicinity of Gargamel’s castle…”

    Don’t you mean a BLUE MALE (with glasses)? You are a Smurf after all! lol! :)

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