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both tax refunds have arrived!… and other plastic accomplishments

February 22, 2008

This week was quite productive in moving finances around. With both tax refunds arriving, I was able to completely pay off two credit cards (Sears and Chase). I also put $2000 aside for our trip in May. My FICO score is nudging back up the chart a little bit, so I was able to increase a credit limit on a low interest Citibank card (11.99% down from 13.49% -they did this automatically for me!). I was then able to transfer the entire balance from my Chase Bank One card ($1499) with a 24.99% interest rate to the lower interest card. The transferred balance also has an introductory rate of 6.5% for 6 months. All of this means that I am completely divorced from all Chase cards FOREVER! I’ll leave them open for now to keep my FICO score in check, but Chase has been my demise since I first opened an account with them. They take liberties with their APRs that should undergo scrupulous Federal examination. I received a letter in the mail at the end of last year that stated my interest rate would be raised to 31% just because. It still hasn’t been raised. I think they wanted me to just close the account so I’d be locked into 29.99% forever. It was also not in my favor that a Bank One card I had ended up in the hands of Chase after a merger. The APR was pretty good until then.

I added in interest charges for March in this, so some of the balances have gone up from the last snowball post.

Here’s where things stand now… There are 4 zero balances in there!

snowball-022208 2.jpg

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consumer holidays

February 14, 2008

Valentine’s Day has been claimed at some point to be thought up by Hallmark… even though St. Valentine came from Italy, where I’m pretty sure Hallmark did NOT originate… regardless, I still like it. I did, however, tell Husband to not buy me anything this year. He usually buys flowers. He’s really good at it, too. He doesn’t buy expensive roses, because, 1. they’re about $50 overpriced this time of year, and 2. I don’t really like roses. They are too cliché. I like daisies and other colorful, simple flowers. We are going to dinner to a place that doesn’t not have a special V-Day menu. We will be paying the same price as if we were going any other day of the year.

I do not agree with commercial upon commercial depicting the most loved female in the world because she received diamonds in her sleep. The size of the diamond (ie cost of the diamond) does not automatically equal the amount of love one feels for another, even though we’ve been programmed to believe that. I also have to wonder what the heck these women got for Christmas only 2 months ago if they are getting a wad of diamonds for V-Day. There must have been a Lexus with a giant red bow in the driveway for her.

Found out today that indeed, our tax return will be one and half weeks late… inevitably.  Thanks IRS.

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windfalls

February 13, 2008

credit to truewhisper.com

From my understanding, when you get a windfall, even if it’s $5, it should go straight to debt. Well, I received $191 in medical reimbursements that I’m having taken out pre-taxed from my paycheck (like a cafeteria plan). Being already behind didn’t lend to lots of extra money. I ended up putting $25 towards my highest interest card that will not be paid off with the tax return. If I can keep doing that… it’ll pay off eventually. But, I feel like I’m not making the headway I should be. Husband and I really need to start focusing on eating at home. That’s one of our biggest problems. I also really wish I could get him to not spend money on little things like DVDs or fish (for example) at least for a few months. That’s $30 more we could have in our account next month or pay toward debt.

Since I’ve previously just posted credit card debt, here’s a layout of our other debt.

husband’s student loan: $13,180.87

husband’s car: $8839.79

my car: $21,702.99

mortgage: $197,801.55

I just did some research regarding my car payments.  When I bought the car I also purchased an extended warranty that was *thought* to be tacked onto the end of the manufacturer’s warranty.  This was not the case… they overlapped, so it was a total waste of money.   I requested to cancel that warranty, and the dealership put the full amount ($1330) toward my principal.  I was originally hoping to lower my monthly payment, but it was just considered a big payment.  I’ve also being paying a whopping $9 over the minimum payment each month.  (mainly because that makes my payment an even number)  I figured out that with the principal payment and the additional $9/month payments, my length of loan will be 68 months instead of the original 75 months.

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February 11, 2008

snowball-021108 2.jpg

Click the pic to see the current snowball.

I’ll be posting lots of these to track progress, esp. after I make a small dent with the tax refund!

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checked on my tax refund

February 11, 2008

It should arrive February 15th, but from what I’ve read… the government outsourcing to Santa Barbara Bank & Trust hindered the delivery of the refunds. They also charge a $29.95 fee to process your payments ($29.95 federal and $29.95 state, in my case) if you decide to pay from your tax refund rather than your bank account. How confusing is that?! So, we had to pay $90 to file our taxes online, and pay the filing fees out of the tax refund! One would think the internet would be less hassle and more fluid than mailing PAPER to the IRS and having actual PEOPLE HANDLING the paperwork! That’s where the processing fee needs to be! We should be rewarded for using less paper. Seriously. Not going to happen with “Dub-ya” up there!

I had to make payments this week on credit cards today so payment won’t be late even though I’m paying some of the cards off this month.

I’m trying to get our rotation of bill-paying caught up from Christmas. We got behind by spending money and then having to wait until the next paycheck to pay the bills we should have paid two weeks before. (smart) They weren’t late, but barely on time. I’d like the get away from that. I’d like to be paying bills at least two weeks before they’re due. It’ll will definitely help to have 2.5 less bills to pay, even though it won’t add up to that much extra cash each month.

I was under the impression that when you pay a credit card off, the next month is a final payment for interest for the previous month. Is this not always the case? I paid a card off and never had another bill after that. Maybe it was brilliant timing.

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credit card debt status

February 8, 2008

This here is a listing of our credit card debt only… we also make 2 car payments, a mortgage payment, a student loan payment, and other misc. bill payments.

With the use of what’s the cost, I’ve been able to view our minuscule dent (if there is one) in our debt so far.

Chase 29.99% $733.33 (will be eliminating with tax refund!)

Chase Bank One 26.24% $1445.62

Capital One 19.40% $6045.00

Bank of America 14.99% $5760.92

Orchard Bank 23.15% $2198.98 (will be eliminating over half with tax refund!)

Sears 25.40% $1133.35 (will be eliminating with tax refund!)

Providian (WMU) 25.99% $2821.60

Truliant 14.00% $2214.43

Belk 3.00% $520.06

Coastal 15.17% $10,000.00 (attempt at consolidating and eliminating Chase)

Citibank 13.24% $2251.73

There it is in a nutshell… all laid out in print… skeery.

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we’re getting a tax refund from federal and state!

February 7, 2008

Husband and I filed taxes yesterday. It’s our first year as homeowners, so we’re getting some interest back. It’s also the first year we’ve filed jointly. Our total refund will be in the ballpark of $5100. We’ve already made plans for the money.

pay ourselves first (I know this usually means via a savings account or 401k, but there are things we both need to do and this is a good way to get them done without spending money from the joint account…can we say haircut finally!!): $150 each

save for our trip in May: $2000

put the rest towards debt! woohoo!: $2800

We are going to be able to pay off 2.5 cards. We’ve paid off one small $300 card, but this will make me feel like we are making headway.

I initially wanted to put most of it towards debt, but it will be nice to have the money set aside gaining interest for our 1st anniversary trip. it would also save us some money in the long run to pay off debt with it, but already having the money means we won’t be using credit cards on the trip. It’s going to be awesome!

I’ll update soon with a rundown of cards, percentages, and balances… trust me… it will make you feel better about your debt situation.

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