Monthly Archives: November 2010

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Okay, so I don’t actually have a budget…

So, really, nothing was ‘busted’ either but yesterday we made our bi-annual trip to our local Toyota dealership to have two of our cars serviced.

I always expect to pay around $1k.

This trip was no different.

On my car alone: four new tires, new brakes, and some other things that only a gearhead would be interested in. Set me back another $1190.


At least my little Scion drives like my BMW now…

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From a pseudo defensive stance, over the past week, I’ve kinda felt the need to, I dunno, further respond to EnoughWealth’s comment regarding my ridonkulous spending last month — specifically the television purchase when, from their point of view, I should have just saved up for it.

In theory, they’re right.

Obviously that’s the case.

In reality, we’d been without a living room for 6 months during the renovation. Now, the room was complete and it was time to furnish it.

In the past, I’m sure you’ve all pieced together decorations for a room one-by-one but I think everyone can admit that taking that route, regardless of your personal taste, well, it usually ends up looking disjointed and cluttered.

Here we were with a brand new living space, completely empty, with an opportunity to do it right.

All at once.

And we did.

Could we have waited? Not really.

Have you ever gone 6+ months without sitting down on a couch to watch a little television after dinner?

We just did.

And we’d had enough.

But this isn’t really about a television or a couch or even a renovation — it’s about the money.

Did we take on some debt during this extreme makeover and subsequent redecorating?

Yep, we sure did.

But we can pay for it too…

Right now the total damage is around $24k worth of debt which we financed using credit cards — $17k of which is at a 0% interest rate.

My repayment/savings plan is currenty set to $570 per week -or- an average of $2470 per month.

It’s all on auto-pilot too utilizing weekly auto-transfers from my checking account. I’m not in a position to easily “skip” a payment here or there…

Further, the plan is actually conservative.

I could do more.

I probably will do more.

I guess my defense is that I know what I’m doing.

I’ve been in deeper debt before and I got out of it.

Best of all — my expenses are far lower than the last time I had to do this *and* the things that got me into debt were totally worth it.

Big difference.

I’ll be debt free again by mid-2011.

Mark my words.

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Are you ready for this?

Now I knew coming in that October would be an expensive month and I even went out of my way to spend a bit extra on the very last day just to get it on the books and in the past but I didn’t think it’d be as crazy as it turned out to be.

Here are the numbers:

  • $9212.72 : Contractor
  • $2534.09 : Ashley Furniture
  • $2201.63 : Business Expenses
  • $1607.98 : Hockey Jerseys
  • $1261.35 : PC Richard & Son
  • $498.72 : Mortgage
  • $473.82 : IKEA
  • $168.95 : PODs
  • $152.94 : Clothing
  • $135.64 : Allstate Insurance
  • $116.14 : Cable/Internet
  • $107.65 : Electricity
  • $80.00 : Cash
  • $78.90 : Gas
  • $49.09 : Natural Gas
  • $19.22 : Ocean State Job Lot
  • $6.33 : Home Depot
  • $2.00 : Hartford Parking Authority

All of that adds up to $18708.17.

You know, for $18k, I’d have expected a longer list…

Anyway, now I’ll try to defend my spending…

The $9212.72 payment to the contractor was expected and worth it. Our house doesn’t suck anymore.

The $2.5K furniture purchase was for a couch. Everyone needs a couch, right?

The $1261 purchase from PC Richard & Son (an electronics store that took over most of the empty Circuit City buildings here in Connecticut) was for a television to go with the couch.

And the $473 IKEA run was for a rug between the two.

These four expenditures alone make up nearly 75% of the total — and they’re all one time expenses so things aren’t really as bad as they look.

Regarding the $2201.63 in business expenses, well, I made the decision to upgrade my camera body.

The good news is that income to cover that purchase is just on the horizon. It’s even been invoiced — I’m just waiting on the payment at this point. It’s one of those “it-costs-money-to-make-money” snafus.

The hockey jerseys, well, I happened upon a great deal that I couldn’t pass up a couple of weeks ago.

Okay, it was more like 4 great deals.

Yeah, can’t justify this line but let me just say that when I knew that it was going to be a freespending month, I figured that I may as well pick up something nice for myself. And I did.

The rest is pretty much just the regular stuff, you know, mortage, utilities, gas, that sort of thing.

The Ocean State Job Lot purchase was for a bunch of those felt stickers that you put on the bottom of furniture to keep them from scratching the floor. Of course, before the renovation, we never cared about that sort of thing but now we do.

I’ve mentioned the store in the past and for those that have blanked it from their memory, I said that Ocean State Job Lot “makes Walmart look like Neiman Marcus” but hey, their felt stickers are a deal!

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This post was requested by Angie — and I love requests!

We had a hard time this past Halloween.

See, we had a costume in mind, one that we’d had in the closet since before Duncan was even born and we thought this would be the the year that it’d fit him.

Well, we were wrong — but only realized it days before Halloween.

So a last minute trip to a childrens consignment store resulted in this $6 penguin suit.

At first we were a little worried he wouldn’t wear it since he’s never been too keen on wearing things on his head (dating back to that great hat/headdress last Thanksgiving) but once we got it on him (I can confirm that there was some screaming involved) he went into a pseudo show-off mode.

Never’d seen him do that before.

We did some trick-or-treating which I’m pretty sure he found confusing but he most certainly enjoyed being allowed to walk around at night while the assorted princesses and power rangers cooed over his costume (or the goofy walk he does when he’s showing off) and pick up sticks.

Yep, he acquired more sticks than chocolate.

Better than Charlie Brown’s rocks, I suppose…

In other “family” news, we’re slated to add Duncan 2 sometime in early April.

Here’s one of those creepy looking 4D ultrasounds of the little guy.

(Seriously — that’s creepy, right?)

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Aye yai yai! Look at that credit card debt?!

I haven’t been this deep in the hole for years — I just did a quick browse of all of my previous net worth updates and I haven’t been this deep since I started this blog.

Ouch. Seems I’ll be back in digging-out mode for a few, um, years again…

The good news is that, though it’s hard to beleive at this junction, I’ve reduced my spending drastically since the last time (between 2006 and 2008) I’ve had to tackle something this large *and* I’ve got some emergency cash available — I’m not “just” getting by.

I’m doing alright.

That — and I’ve done this before. I can do it again.

Here’s the breakdown:

Nice! I finished up three bucks!

This drop stems from the final payment to the contractor for the $40k worth of work we had done on the house. Sure — it’s thrown my finances into a spiral but the end result was worth it.

I’m still unsure if I’ll leave what’s left in here alone or use it to start paying down the credit card debt. I’ve gotta be honest — it hurt to see this number fall below the 5-figure mark. In fact, it hurt more than seeing my credit card balances swell beyond the $20k mark.

Gov’t Bonds:
I haven’t bought any of these for 7 or 8 months now. The fixed return rate on any new bonds, as of November 1st, is 0% so I don’t see myself buying any more this year. The return rate that I’m receiving is pretty decent though so I won’t be selling any of these to pay of debt.

My 401k balance finally broke the $100k threshhold this month and then kept on going. It wasn’t my best month ever but theres something comforting about a fully vested 6-figure balance.

Don’t care about the drop. It still smells fresh and new — even though it’s 135 years old.

Auto 1 & Auto 2:
No complaints here.

Credit Cards:
Okay, so you might be wondering what happened? I told everyone about that 0% offer we used to help finance the renovation back in May but there must be something else going on here…

There is — it’s called a leather couch and a big television. Yep, even though the final payment to the contractor was made, there were some lingering expenses that were necessary. The good news is that I don’t foresee any additional large purchases in 2010.

This balance will start to fall. In a hurry.

Auto Loans and Other Loans:
Zilch. Zero. Nada.

Just another minimum payment. Since the re-fi, I’ve totally flip-flopped and hopped on that bandwagon of folks that say that overpaying the mortgage is stupid. I totally agree with them — but only if your monthly payment is insanely low…

Can You Dig It?