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Archive for February, 2013

February Net Worth

February 28th, 2013 at 08:44 pm

The past week has been crazy in the Luva household... mainly work kicking me in the butt! I haven't been able to post in about a week - but tonight I did find time to sit down and add up all the numbers for my end of month net worth calculations....

Total Net Worth: $32,668.90 (up by $5,927.95!)

BreakDown:

Investments: $13,701.55
Checking: $2,237.35
Assets: $65,940 (Only including vehicle and house)
Debt: $49,270 (including the mortgage)

I am pleased with my progress for the month - but there is still room to do better. Back to the spreadsheet to figure out exactly how my money will work for me during the month of March!

My 2013 Card savings = $191.01

February 20th, 2013 at 01:24 pm

The penny kills me every time I see it. Only because it shows how pennies add up!

I wish the Kroger card savings tracker showed what was really saved, though. This is going off of their sale prices with coupons, not original prices, so I would assume my savings are actually closer to the $300 range.

In anycase, it is nice to have Kroger track the savings for me throughout the year so I don't have to. Hehe!

Here's to more savings in the future! Cheers!

Child Support

February 19th, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Before I met the man of my dreams (hubby) I was married to the nightmare of my life.

Ok, that is probably not overly fair to say - so instead I will say that I was very young (19) and thought I had found the man of my dreams (ex-husband). We had two children together, and they are the most amazing things that ever came out of that relationship.

My ex-husband is an alcoholic. One of the reasons for the divorce. We have been divorced for 10 years, and in those 10 years, he has basically ignored the fact that he had any financial or emotional responsibility to his children.

During this time, he had no bank account and got paid under the table. The only support we received was the 2 years he filed taxes and I received his tax return.

Around last August, he finally went to an in-patient treatment program and has gotten sober. He also filed for VA disability benefits and was awarded 20% disability. In order to receive his disability, however, he had to open a bank account.

So, after 2 years of not even speaking to this man, I get a message that he needs to speak to me. The conversation basically informed me that he had opened a savings account, went to rent a red box movie and the machine wouldn't take his debit card, so he called to see why. His savings account has been frozen and reads that he has an available negative balance of $76,000.

He would like for me to call the state and have him absolved of his debt.

Is he crazy? Or am I crazy for even contemplating it for a second?

I realize that it will take until the end of time for me to receive that money from him. However, he has a responsibility to his children and his past poor behavior shouldn't be absolved. At the same time, this is a huge mountain for him to stare into and I fear that it could cause a setback to the progress he has made to better himself and get a grip onto his own life.

I have decided that I am not absolving anything. Instead, I wrote my ex mother in law and laid it out for her - what the situation was, so that she could possibly help him either financially or by getting him some financial education. I felt very uncomfortable writing her - although we have maintained a relationship all these years. But we never talked about her son or that he wasn't paying child support - so to bring it up now was very uncomfortable.

Perhaps I made the wrong decision - but it has been made and done, so not much I can do about it now.

Just another example of how poor financial choices from years past can come back to possibly destroy your future. Its best to stare those debts in the face and do what needs to be now rather than wait a decade to face the music.

Breakdown

February 15th, 2013 at 01:04 pm

Here is an overview breakdown on my financial picture (since I haven't posted it yet):

Investments: $13,595.10
Checking/Savings: $1,149.38
Assets: $61,720 (House/Vehicle estimates - no personal goods)
Debt: $49,876.38 (including mortgage and vehicle)

Total Net Worth: $26,588.10

Further breakdown of Debts:

Mortgage: $26,594
Discover: $2,122
Providian: $5,391
NMAC: $8,591
Old Republic: $2,636.38
Target: $2,075
Walmart: $389
AAFES: $595
Masters Degree Loan: $1,483

401k and TSP

February 13th, 2013 at 09:10 pm

After High School, I joined the US Army, where I joined into the Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP, which is, for the sake of simplicity, like a 401k plan.

After 10 years of service, I left active duty to pursue my dream of completing my education, which I am happy to report I did (with ZERO student debt to boot!).

I rejoined the workforce after graduation in 2010, and my current company offers a 401k plan, which I am a participating in.

Since I am getting back into getting my financial house in order, the fact that I still had money in the TSP came back to me in the middle of the night. I found the last documents I have from the TSP, which are dated from 2007. I can't log into the TSP website right now though (they changed the account numbers and I have to wait for them to mail me my new logon information) but since my last TSP information I have on file includes the share amounts I have in each fund, I was able to determine, based on closing prices, the market value of my TSP account.

Now, I have to call Fidelity, (the company that is managing my current 401k) to see what I need to do to complete a roll over. While the TSP is a good program and I like the fund options - I can not put any more money into the fund since I am not active duty and I would prefer the balance amount to be in a fund that I can actively manage and add principle to throughout time.

I told my husband that I found some extra retirement savings. He asked me how I could have forgotten that I had the account. The answer to that is simple - when one is not paying attention, the mind tends to forget what it has! Smile

Charitable Giving

February 12th, 2013 at 08:52 pm

I was in an interesting conversation with another person - (contrary to when I have conversations with myself) about charitable giving.

Now, I have not yet posted my total debts and whatnot on this blog (will be getting to that shortly - I do have it all in a spreadsheet!), but I do have some debts.

And even with the debts, I budget charitable donations each and every month.

This other person basically started lecturing me about how I could use that money to get out of debt faster.

I responded (as politely as I could), that personal finances were exactly that - [bPERSONAL[/b]. And while yes, the money I budget for charity could assist me in getting out of debt faster, I personally feel a sense of obligation in charitable giving.

For the record, I am not giving a record breaking amount. My charitable donations this year are projected to be $650. Broken into 26 pay periods, we are looking at about $25 a pay period.

I personally feel that even with my debts that my family and I are extremely blessed. My children have never felt the pangs of starvation, the uncertainty of where they will sleep, or any of the other discomforting and sometimes horrifying things that occur in this world. We have more than we need and that $25 a pay check is not going to take food out of their mouths or get us kicked out of our home.

And while the amount of money I give every two weeks may not change the world, it assists in comforting 13 people every two weeks with a warm meal, a safe place to sleep, and medical attention here in the United States.

I have a financial plan, and I want out of debt. But I don't think I should stop helping my fellow man completely simply for the reason of reducing my debt 1 to 2 months earlier than projected. At some point, your own values have to come into play and isn't the point of budgeting to prioritize what is important to YOU and YOUR family?

What do you guys think about charitable giving while paying off debt? Is it something that you continue(d) to do - or something that you put off for the short term?

Another day...

February 11th, 2013 at 06:32 pm

Spent $38.56; Saved $56.26 at the Wally World today!

Purchased a lot of HBA items and household cleaning items.... good news is, I won't have to purchase soap for my husband for probably about 6 months... Smile I also scored FREE nail polishes for the girls that I can give them for Valentines Day (actually, with the coupon, they made me .03 each!)

When I gave the cashier my coupons, he asked how long it took me to find the coupons and the deals, (after commenting to me "do you know how long it is going to take me to write my name on all of these?"). I told him the honest truth, that it really doesn't take that long - and besides, I want to "live better"!

The best part though, was when my 14 year old daughter told the cashier - "You are lucky she didn't bring her binder inside - it could have been a lot worse" in response to his writing his name on the coupons comment. I love that kid!



It's a Coupon Party!

February 10th, 2013 at 05:11 pm

A woman that I work with invited me to join her at her mom's group Coupon Club - and I had a blast!

Not only was I able to trade coupons that I will never use (my family is way out of the diaper stage!) and score bunches of coupons that we will be able to use, I also had the pleasure of meeting new people who share a similar interest!

Which is really nice, considering the only people I know in my town are ones that I work with. (Kinda new to the area... well, been here about a year and half - meeting people has gotten harder as I have gotten older!)

Now, off to cook up some stir-fry for dinner and get ready for the next episode of The Walking Dead!

Valentine's Day Budget

February 10th, 2013 at 09:49 am

I am unprepared this year for Valentine's Day.

Which is silly. Because its the same day. EVERY YEAR. Like Christmas or Birthdays.

Luckily, only one child is still young enough to be involved in Valentine Day Card swaps at school. So I purchased her a kit of Valentines for $3.19.

Every year, I usually get all the kids a little something for V-Day. Its never anything huge: V-Day socks from the Target dollar bin; Silly V-Day pens (from the same dollar bin); and a huge Hershey's Kiss (cause I love them!)

Money is tight this month, though. And I didn't budget for this event. So, now I have to decide what to do - what to do.

Grocery Store Adventures

February 9th, 2013 at 11:04 pm

I will disclose that I use coupons. I would not be what some would deem "extreme" - but I average about 50% savings. By using coupons in conjunctions with sales, I get to stretch my grocery dollars further, and from time to time, get to purchase some "treats" that we otherwise wouldn't get. Even when I was blowing off monitoring my funds, I still used my coupons.

This weeks grocery trip, I spent $37.21 and saved $26.07 - or 41%.

I wish I could have hit that 50% mark, but I gave a dollar to the food drive and had to purchase some other things that I did not have coupons for - such as bread, milk and eggs.

My weekly grocery budget is $63. So I am $25.79 under budget for the week! YaY!

Here I am!

February 9th, 2013 at 07:51 pm

New to SA; not new to the financial forum/blog world. The last couple of years I have somewhat fallen off the wagon; that is, I have lost sight of my financial goals and watching where my money is actually going.

I woke up one morning recently and said "Self, what the hell have you been doing!?!"

So here I am - blogging for mental accountability and being part of a community of people who want to better their financial situations through planning, work, and budgeting!