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Don't use coupons? Think you can't save money using... I wrote this in response (as a comment) to a comment quoted in a post on the Five Cent Nickle blog. ========================================================= Coupons are the single best way to...

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Working with credit card companies - the good, bad... A few months ago we knew we were headed into "negative" territory on our bills.  A perfect storm of events were happening and we could see what was going to happen. In our efforts to work with our...

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I paid 25c for all of this food.... 4 boxes of crackers 4 packages of cookies 2 boxes of cinnabon bars 1 hotwheel Had to throw the hotwheel in just cause I had a $1 left to "spend" from my freebie stuff!  How did I do it??? Albertson's...

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Allowances, complications, compensating for chores...... It was with surprise and well, a bit of disgust that I was recently reading a plethora of comments on a financial forum I participate in about this very subject. Let's see if I can reiterate without...

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Don't waste your energy on credit, you never need it... I love love love Trent at the Simple Dollar.  He has written for a while and has excellent advice, gives wonderful access to financial related resources and well, he's just an all around great guy (have...

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Freedom and Happiness Quote of the week

Posted on : 30-11-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Uncategorized

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“There are plenty of ways to get ahead.  The first is so basic I’m almost embarrassed to say it: spend less than you earn.”
~Paul Clitheroe

“Totally” debt free . . . except the . . . SORRY, that’s NOT debt free!!!

Posted on : 28-10-2009 | By : admin | In : Uncategorized

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<RANT ON>

I hear this a lot:

“We’re totally debt free with the exception of the student loans and the cars”

“We’re totally debt free with the exception of the student loans and the house”

“We’re totally debt free except the house”

On what planet is one “TOTALLY” debt free and then go on to say “except for . . .”

That is NOT debt free.

TOTALLY debt free means no debt – no cars, no credit cards, no personal loans, no LOC, no student loans, NO DEBT PERIOD.

</RANT OFF>

October 2009 Budget

Posted on : 12-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Away with the FAT, Uncategorized

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In the interest of transparency . . . we are revealing our monthly budgets and actual spending on this blog in the hopes that you can learn from our mistakes!!

Remember, we are doing the zero based budget as taught by Dave Ramsey.

So, here is our October 2009 budget:

Income (including reimbursements) $4042.96
Tithe $416.00
Housing $1304.54
Mortgage
Utilities $0
paid ahead last month
Food $300
Transportation $701.12
Gas & oil $300
Insurance $86.58
Payment $314.54
Medical/Health $242.27
Medical Insurance
Personal $675.10
Freedom/Sinking Fund $180.10
Toiletries envelope $50.00
School tuition $325 (paid ahead last month)
Blow $20
Pet envelope $50
Hair envelope $50
Recreation $0
Entertainment/Netflix (paid ahead last month)
Debts $403.93
C. MC $5.00
CU. MC $5.00
US CFE MC $5.00
US CLE MC $252.93 (debt currently in line in the snowball)
H CFE MC $60
H CLE MC $60
Disney movie club $16 (past due, now paid in full)

FYI: there are several debts that we are in forebearance on (2 student loans and a private loan).  These debts will be “activated” once the credit cards and trailblazer are paid in full.

Ahhhh…. I feel so much better!

Posted on : 10-10-2009 | By : admin | In : Uncategorized

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We received money due to us from the IRS (had to go through a tax return review since MAY!!) today and we were able to pay off several things and get current on all of our 4 walls. YEAH! Our baby emergency fund is back up to $1,000 and lots of small medical debts from this summer are all paid in full.

I feel so much better now!

Today was an excellent grocery shopping day . . .

Posted on : 06-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Uncategorized

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I only went to one store, although I did 3 transactions.

I must apologize in advance, i do not have a photo of today’s excursion… the camera is with my sis so no photo today… I’m sorry!!

Ok, Fred Meyer had some good sales this week.  Here’s how I did:

Item description: (Retail price / sales price / – coupons / my price – Qty )

Kraft Mac n’Cheese: 89c / 59c / -9c / 50c – 20
Barilla Pasta: 1.99 / 1.00 / -50c / 50c – 6
VO5 Shampoo: 1.29 / 99c / -45c / 54c – 4
Fred Meyer Bread: 1.29 / 50 / -0 / 50c – 12
Activa/Danimal/Dannon Yogurt 4pk: 2.29 / 1.88 / -1.00 / 88c – 3
Bumble Bee Tuna Pack: 1.99 / 1.00 / -62c / 38c – 5
Hunts Pasta Sauce: 1.10 / 99c / -30c / 69c – 18
Bar S Bacon 1lb: 2.99 / 2.50 / -50c / 2.00 – 6

Total Coupons: $20.29
Total Spent: $48.62
Total OOP w/tax: $52.15

Working with credit card companies – the good, bad and ugly . . .

Posted on : 04-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Uncategorized

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A few months ago we knew we were headed into “negative” territory on our bills.  A perfect storm of events were happening and we could see what was going to happen.

In our efforts to work with our credit card companies, we started by calling Chase – please don’t laugh… we didn’t realize at the time we were taking on the stupidest credit card company in the world, and I am not exaggerating.

Chase refused to work any hardship with us – we simply requested a lower interest rate and a temporary lowering of our payments (we did not request any reduction in principle).  Instead, they told us they couldn’t do anything and refused to work with us.  They told us our only option to work with them was through Consumer Credit Counsel Service (you know, that “credit counseling” company paid for by the credit card companies – the same one who’s focus is making sure the credit card companies get paid, 4-walls be darned?!).  They didn’t care that we were already working with a financial counselor through all of this.

Well Chase, this month will be the first of several months you won’t be getting paid.  You refuse to work with us so you’ll just have to wait in line behind others who are willing to work with us.

So, knowing what a nightmare our first attempt was, hubby called Merrick Bank today.  The 1st call didn’t go so well… however, she hung up on hubby so he called back again… and got someone nice – yes, I said nice, and helpfulThose are oxymoron’s in the credit card industry.

So, Merrick bank is very willing to work with us.  We have 2 credit card’s with Merrick and they were wonderful on both of those cards.  We told them we don’t have any money this month, however due to our efforts at selling things and bringing in extra income, we anticipate having the ability to repay again beginning next month.  In otherwords, we will miss 1 payment on both cards.  They said just call them to make the arrangements they agreed to which was dropping our rate to 6% and eliminating any late fees that accrue once the accounts go late.

Imagine that, a credit card company that actually wants their money and is willing to work out something temporarily with us.

Spurred on by the success of that phone call, hubby went on to Juniper Bank (we have 2 accounts with them as well).  They won’t do anything, period.  We can work through Consumer Credit Counseling and that is our only option with them.  No lower of rate, no temporary hardship, nothing.  In fact, they tried to sell hubby “credit protection” – yes, just what we need: to increase our debt with you when we are telling you we are not able to make the payment this month?!

So, Merrick Bank and our credit union are first priority on our “debt snowball” list and Juniper Bank and Chase are last priority.  Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll be going 4-6 months late on payments to them (unless something drastic changes in our financial situation in the very near future) which means likely charge offs… which means the companies aren’t likely to get even the principle amount owed to them as they’ll have collection agencies collecting for them.

We tried – over and over we tried. We asked simply for temporary abatement, not a hand out.  It’s no wonder people just give up and file bankruptcy (we will not).

We’ve also done this with every single card (including my coveted Macy’s Elite card)…

dsc03995

Recipe: Warm Chicken Nacho Dip

Posted on : 01-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Uncategorized

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We LOVE this in our house… eaten with tortilla chips… even made a bit thicker and with more meat it’s a yummy tortilla filling.

Warm Chicken Nacho Dip

1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes with green chili’s, drained
1 – 1 lb loaf velveeta (cubed)
2 lg cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts, shredded
1/3c sour cream
1/4c diced green onions
1 1/2 T taco seasoning mix
2 T minced jalapeno pepper (or to taste)
1c black beans, rinsed and drained

Place the diced tomatoes, cheese, chicken meat, sour cream, green onion, taco seasoning and jalapeno pepper into a slow cooker.  Cook on high, stirring occasionally until the cheese has melted and the dip is hot (1-2 hours).  Stir in black beans and cook 15 minutes more to reheat.

21c Walmart Deal

Posted on : 29-09-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Uncategorized

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Walmart Deals

Here’s my 21c Walmart deal… 2lbs Velveeta (specific for a recipe), 2 jalapeno peppers, 1 bunch green onions, 24oz sour cream, 1 can black beans, 1 lg. can diced tomatoes with green chilis = 21c.

We recieved a $10 gift card a few weeks back from a manager due to a stocking issue on a product (this was a FIRST), so I used it today :D.

21c + 62c tax = 83c oop

Don’t waste your energy on credit, you never need it and I’ve got the proof:

Posted on : 08-08-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Uncategorized

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I love love love Trent at the Simple Dollar.  He has written for a while and has excellent advice, gives wonderful access to financial related resources and well, he’s just an all around great guy (have never met him, haven’t ever even spoken with him, just my personal opinion based upon reading his blog for a couple of years now).

He recently wrote a post that I want to highlight here and “counter” so to speak :).  I’m now of the belief that credit is absolutely unnecessary and the benefits of not having credit far outway the miniscule benefits of having credit.  In fact, the benefits of having credit are more often than not, myths!!

Trent contends that there “are a lot of upsides to healthy use of credit” and they are:

  1. helps your insurance rates
  2. helps you with employment options
  3. offers great buyer protections
  4. helps you with renting

Trent summarizes that it “pays to have a strong positive credit rating”.

Let’s look at this in perspective.  First and foremost, all too often we are comparing a good credit rating with a bad credit rating.  Most people see our credit ratings as one or the other.  In fact, there is another option and that is no or a minimal credit rating.  If you do not use credit, you have no credit rating.  Do you realize that someone with no credit history is often treated like someone with a good credit history?  Especially when they can provide references?

Let’s look at each item in order:

  1. helps your insurance rates: there are company options out there that do not consider credit rating in their pricing factors, barring that, most companies consider bad credit to receive the lowest ratings, therefore the highest rates and premium credit to receive the highest ratings, therefore the lowest rates.  An individual with no credit history generally falls somewhere in the middle.   The price difference?  Literally minimal.  In fact, the price difference is a fraction of the cost that having credit financially costs you, in interest rates (yes, I’m including mortgage interest rates), in annual fees, in costs of time to manage it and take care of the payments, etc.
  2. helps you with employment options: yet again, another one that is often brought up and all to often used as an excuse to “have credit”.  Let’s look at this one in reality – what % of jobs demand that an individual actually have a high vs. a non-existant credit rating?  Minimal.  In fact, even with that minimal %, the likelihood of the issue actually being a determinant of the amount of DEBT the individual has – relating to the possibility of them accepting bribes, becoming financially corrupt, etc. as opposed to them having zero debt and zero reason to be a security risk… yeah, that’s what I thought.  Being out of debt is a good thing and shows strong moral character.
  3. offers great buyer protections: let’s see… so do debit cards!  Debit cards offer the same buyer protections as credit cards, especially when using them with a signature vs. a pin.
  4. helps you with renting: actually, no it doesn’t.  What helps you with renting is a good rental history and no bad credit on your report.  Renting does not require “use of credit”, it only requires no bad credit.  I have first hand experience with this: my sister owns a large property management company and hubby and I have rented homes in 5 different states and 8 different cities.

Let’s look at all of this in reality – most of us have a credit history.  For those that do not yet, DON’T DAMAGE it.  Just stay away from credit and live within your means.  For those of us that already have a credit history, getting out of debt and getting rid of the credit cards, auto loans and mortgage loans will have an excellent effect on our credit.  You won’t be opening more lines of credit and you’ll be paying off debt.  Once things are paid off, the history stays sometimes indefinitely.

So there you have it – credit is NOT required, period.  When you keep your credit report clean, you are good to go.  Keep it clean, even non-existent, don’t live beyond your means and you’ll have full power and control over your money, without being a slave to debt.