auto bill, or on automatic bill pay too. Utility bills are the hardest ones to deal with since they are so seasonal. So what I do is average out all of my utility bills for a 12 month running average to come up with the average bill. Then I add those averages to my fixed bills to come up with a average amount that I pay towards bills each month. I add a little extra for cushion, and that is what I have deposited into my “bill paying account”. I built a spreadsheet so that I can watch my projected balances months ahead of time. That way I can anticipate shortages way ahead of time and make small adjustments that are not really noticeable to my daily budgeting. And better, I really don’t have to worry about paying my bills since they are all on auto-pay, or bill pay. Once or twice a month I update billing amounts in the spreadsheet, and look to make sure that the balance never is projected to go below zero. Excess cash in the account is transferred monthly into savings for when there are going to be shortages.
so I guess if I had a bill that was the same each month, it would be easy. Sometimes I push a few bills to the end of the time period in case I have a cash crunch…I pay our rental property mortgage as late as possible since our renters usually pay late.
I setup my bills through my bill payment service that the bank provides and send out payments on the 1st and 16th of the month.
Since I can setup re-occurring payments, and my payments don’t change for a 12 month period for my utilities, mortgage, insurance etc, why not?
Or were you you thinking that I meant I was actually sending the money for 12 months at a time as a lump sum?
but they also tacked on an adjustment to bring us current because the monthly amount was too low. I use the past tense because I got off of it.
When we had the budget plan, I set up a recurring payment at our bank and then didn’t give it any more thought. The first time that adjustment came through, I didn’t notice it for two or three months, and the late fees really piled up. I caught it sooner each year after that, but still got socked for late fees and that adjustment — about $100 each time — right on the heels of the holidays.
I think it was the third time that I finally decided it wasn’t worth it, so we’re back to paying for the water we’ve used each month.
And vehicle fuel is the same every month? Even on “bill averaging” our electric/gas bill is never exactly the same because each month’s bill is based on an average of the previous 12 months.
What about murphy hits? Illness, sick animals, home repairs, vehicle repairs?
You may have misunderstood how I use Quicken. You said that you want to budget your credit union account. I actually use the “check register” as my budget. I pre-enter my groceries, fuel, kids stuff, and all other misc stuff you spend on Quicken for your credit union account. You already have a budget for those things on a spreadsheet, right? So did I. I would use the spreadsheet to plan out when I could buy certain items based on how much the paycheck was for the week. If there wasn’t enough left for the clothes or dry cleaning, I’d bump that amount out a week.
Now, instead of making those adjustments on my spreadsheet, I just enter them into Quicken as future purchases.
So in other words. I have Quicken pre-planned out to the end of February. I enter (automatically) all the normal items I have on my budget into the Quicken register, like dining, gas, clothing, etc. For example: hair cuts. I plan $50 every 30 days for hair. When someone gets a haircut, I subtract that from the $50, and put in the “real” transaction. That way I can see that I need $25 for gifts down at the end of the month or $30 for the vet when the postcard comes in the mail for his reminder checkup. I “budget” those flexible amounts right in the check register and change the amount to the “real” amount when it is actually spent.
It works great for me because I can plan out as far as I want and just keep the real total on a daily basis matching the bank. It’s a great way for me to also see future purchases on my phone, because it is already pre-populated out a whole month.
Does that make more sense?
Let me explain. Because my employer makes it possible for me to deposit into more than one bank account, I took advantage of that to more or less “automate” my bill paying processes. One bank account I keep a spreadsheet on and plug in all of my monthly bills into it for a running balance. I have the bill pay set up to pay bills automatically. So every pay check deposits a set amount into that account, and my bills are automatically paid from it. I run it as a “zero balance” account, so I watch the balance months ahead of time and make small adjustments once a month. I always pay my bills on time that way, and I really pretty much just set it and forget it. The bank probably hates it since they make no fees off me that way, but to bad. This is also the bank where I am paying off my debts from. I put myself on a three year plan to pay off debt, and that is the amount I pay each month to the credit cards until they are paid off. So far I have killed off three loans, and snowballed into the others. I had a set back last year though, but that will not happen this year.
Now, I know some don’t like this, but I do use a credit card to pay many of my bills to take advantage of the reward miles it offers. But I pay off that balance monthly, so no interest. That card probably hates me, but too bad, I pay no interest, nor fees. If they want to make money off of people, it is not going to be me.
I have a second bank account for my mortgage and emergency fund that I have a portion of my check deposited into, and that one is pretty much on automatic as well except for I have to manage the emergency funds.
The balance of the check is what we live off of and is deposited into my credit union account. That amount fluxuates from check to check, though I can figure to the penny what the minimum will be months ahead of time assuming I don’t call in sick or something. But this is the amount I need to budget for things like Groceries, personal items, clothing, and such. It is this one and only account that I need to set up a budget on that is based off the payday net into this account, and the budget starts over twice a month. THAT is where I have problems with programs like quicken. So many of these programs are based on monthly concepts. But I budget based off each paycheck and it works really well for us. I have flexibility built into my finances, but the budget is something really really try to sick to.
I am wondering what personal finance software everyone uses. I was using MS Money sunset, but got tired of the lack of flexibility and updates, ect. So I have been searching around for what to replace it with. I tried Mint since it is on line and free, but it does not work with my primary credit union for some reason, and since it does not, I would have to mannually enter all the transactions, which I would not mind, but Mint does not work well for that.so I gave up on Mint. After evaluating other programs, both free and otherwise, I broke down and bought Quicken. But even quicken does not do exactly what I want it to do when it comes to budgeting. So I am wondering what others use.
Here is what I am looking to do. I get paid twice a month. But I want to budget according to each paycheck, not a monthly budget. I have not found a program that does that for some reason. No program I have found is very flexible in developing a budget. I resorted to building a spreadsheet to do it, but that makes everything I do a double entry, making it time consuming. At one point I considered just building some in depth spreadsheets. But then I go back to manually entering every transaction again.
Ideally, I would love to get into building a good data base that is on line. But I don’t really have the time, and no one really has a good on line data base that is free to do that with. I mean wouldn’t it be great to build a DB template in google Docs or something similar that everyone could use that would be adaptable to individual needs for free for all, and still be able to download transactions from banks?
Thanks for the input. By the way, I do have a few worksheets that I will be uploading to the template area for Google docs. One will be an advanced version of the snowball that is interactive and keeps track of debt pay off progress.
I like having the control over the fats I put in it. I generally use all olive oil. I also like making variations of it, like a garlicky batch or a spicy batch. I use a regular food processor. It makes pretty amazing tuna or chicken salad.
Alton Brown did mayo on one episode of “Good Eats.” He said that they didn’t know why, but attributed it somehow to the acid in it, that if you leave it out at room temperature for four or five hours after you make it, it actually kills more bacteria than if you put it right in the fridge (the concern is over the raw egg). I’ve always done that, although I have to ignore the voice in my head telling me not to leave mayo out at room temperature!
made my first SUCCESSFUL batch of homemade mayonnaise. Other attempts have been major fails.
Room temperature egg yolks and a narrow bottle (I used a regular mouth pint jar) seem to have made the difference. I used a stick blender, hence the reason for a narrow container. Texture is a-w-e-s-o-m-e. Can’t wait to make some chicken salad sandwiches tomorrow. It’s a little on the tangy side compared to store-bought mayo…but since it came completely out of food storage, I DON’T REALLY CARE ….lol.
2 egg yolk
1 T lemon juice (juice of 1/2 lemon)
1 T white wine vinegar
3/4 teas salt
1/8 teas sugar
1 teas Dijon mustard
1 C vegetable oil*
1/2 C olive oil*
*Ratio on oil doesn’t matter, can be 100% of one, or flipped or whatever, as long as the total amount is 1 1/2 cups.
LET OIL AND EGG SETTLE. EGG YOLK MUST BE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE JAR before you start blending.
Stick blender pulsing without moving for literally 1 second at a time until mayo forms about 1/4 way up jar. Then can move stick blender around blending for 2-3 seconds at a time, moving stick blender vertically up and down incorporating the oil, until all oil is incorporated.
a while back someone asked about our goals for 2014. Mine were to pay back the money that we borrowed from out EF. Number 2 was to pay off the doctor for my hubby’s surgery.. I was hoping to have those two things done by June of this year.
I am happy to report that we have acheived those two goals already.
Not long ago, we were able to pay ourselves back and just a couple of days ago, I got a new EOB from our insurance company for dh’s surgery.
Through the terms of the contract, the original amounts they paid were more than the doctors charges. So basically for us that mean instead of paying $700 we only owed $447. Well I had already paid the doctor $500. Now we just have to wait for the refund of $53.
I am so excited. Not only for an unexpected discount but also for the refund coming and to have the doctor totally PAID OFF. We are back DEBT FREE (except our mortgage of couse).
I changed my FB cover page to a picture of a billboard that says, “debt free zone”!
Doing a little snoopy dance here in Washington State!!!!
~ Talked to XM radio. If we paid a year in advance, they would give us a 50% discount. Which we took. Unfortunately, this is a one-year only special, so we’ll probably drop it next year.
~ Discovered that our mortgage balance was low enough to get our PMI removed. House payment went down $50!
~ Changed from cable to Direct TV. I don’t know how much (or little) it lowered our bill, but it was Husband’s idea. And this was the first time he has taken it upon himself to help figure out how to save money.
~ Had car trouble with both our cars, which we were able to pay for with our “Car Repair” fund, something we started a couple of months ago.
The weather for us on the gulf coast has made life havoc. Our store was open till only noon yesterday. Today we were open all day, still another hour to go. It has made people with normal jobs have some unscheduled time off and rather unexpectedly. Bad for hourly workers. However tomorrow it should be back to work as normal for most people.
I have been working on a few designs today. A “wintry weather advisory” must means I have a day at home whether I want one or not but it’s an excuse to play around with my tiles, ink and other stuff crafty for my business. I have been posting to fb, pinterest, and my website. Not a lot done but worthwhile. I did get an order made and delivered today so I ended up with some green in my pocket for my efforts today.
In the last week or so I have updated my website. I also tried to better organize my products on my pinterest page so the different products are easier to find. That is the kind of work that does not bring in money immediately but I believe it helps in the long run.
to a friend of mine who is Belgian-savvy for socializing and hopefully the goal of getting them placed in homes.
Shadow should be going to his new home in March (yay!). Looloo, my main troublemaker, is proving to be stubborn to shift so there has to be a plan for her that will come together at some point.
I’m learning to crochet with the aim of being able to crochet items with my flocks processed fleece – value-added products, handmade. I’m also just flat out enjoying myself.
Saturday is the beginning of the Horticulture class at the Kerr Center in Poteau which Chris is attending with me, so looking forward to that.
The 9th is the hive build day so I’ll learn how to put my bee hives together, and hopefully learn a more efficient way of putting the frames and wax foundation together, those are a PITA.
In the meantime, I’m slowly (emphasis on slowly), making some headway in the house. I’m ignoring the dust to the best of my ability and concentrating on finding a place for everything and contemplating how I want the house setup so I can get my boxes unpacked.
I also need to work out a better method of feeding the sheep the big round bales since they are pretty darn wasteful. I can’t spend a bunch of time feeding by hand – I KNOW cash advance online – there has to be a smarter way to get them fed with less waste, not to mention less waste means less money spent and less hay in their fleece so less time I have to spend skirting and cleaning fleece etc.
Within the next 2 weeks I’ll be visiting with the NRCS to figure out some different strategies on getting water out to my pasture, getting my fencing taken care of etc. A gently used livestock trailer purchase may be on my list of purchases, I’m mulling that over.
Also mulling over getting some of my pigs back, but that may be more than I can deal with right now. I do miss the taste of home raised pork and chicken and eggs!
So, that’s where I am right now.
And I need to budget for a railing on the porch so I can quit bouncing down the dang stairs when its icy.
so we spent the remainder of the week gathering the supplies we would need to paint and clean. We spent Friday afternoon cleaning or with appointments with different trades–pest, HVAC, locksmith.
Saturday and Sunday were spent painting. We have primed everything except 4 closets/storage areas of varying sizes. I figured that we should get the main/public areas of the Karate school ready for prospective students.
I’ve taken the day off of painting today so I can get my house in order and spend more time painting later in the week. The sooner we get everything in order there and open the school, the sooner I will have that stuff out of my house and I can remove our personal clutter. I know that the kids’ old homeschool stuff can get sold, the last one graduates this year.
Please check with OK state regulations regarding vehicle abandonment. According to the three instances where I had to deal with an abandoned vehicle, 30 days was all the time required for a vehicle to be parked with no communication from the owner, before it was considered abandoned. The mechanic and/or the land owner was under NO obligation to contact you during that time. If 30 days (or whatever the time interval might be under OK statute) the mechanic and/or property owner didn’t hear from you, then by law the vehicle would be considered abandoned. At that point, any title would be null and void. Ownership of the vehicle would automatically pass to the property owner, at which time he can do whatever he wants with it. That was the procedure which occurred in all three instances I was involved in. Also, when a vehicle is abandoned as above described, the new vehicle owner must either pay money to get a new title assigned, OR can sell it as salvage, which occurred here. From everything you’ve said so far, this sounds exactly like the other three instances I am familiar with, all of which were perfectly legal. But don’t take my word for it and don’t take anyone else’s word for it. Go check the OK state law before you start serving warrants or paying an attorney or siccing Bruno on this guy or whatever else. Vehicle abandonment happens every day, the procedures are very straightforward, and there’s nothing here (yet) which tells me the mechanic did anything other than what he was required to do. Don’t spend a bunch of money on this until you’ve proven otherwise. Or he could come after you for stuff like defamation of character, etc.
If I were you, I would stop worrying about whether he broke the law, get the sheriff involved etc. Clearly he did, and clearly the sheriff doesn’t care.
I would, however, get to the Small Claims court house for that area (where the truck was at, since technically, that’s where the contract was) and file papers on MONDAY for the Kelly Blue Book value of the truck. Usually they give you a choice of having a “friend” serve him, service by mail, or service by the county sheriff/marshall office. While this usually costs about $50-60 to have him served by the men in green, it GETS his attention PRONTO.
And then of course, after you win, my FAVORITE method of collecting money is to do a Till Tap, which is where a marshall/sheriff in uniform, literally stands at the cash register all day collecting every payment/purchase that comes in in order to pay the debt. It usually only takes about 15 minutes of that for the shiester to pay up.
Went to the cut feature and it said I needed to link my cartridge. Tried to link an got an error. Then it said I needed to update my firmware, I hit the skip button because I wanted to complete the project. It would not let me cut unless I did the update. So I finally gave up and did the update, then my cricut would no longer work.
You could post a review there too. Reviews there often make companies really sit up and pay attention simply from the sheer exposure to such a huge potential market. Also, epinions.com might be another option. But yea, spread the word far and wide. That’s simply unacceptable for a company to treat their customers that way. I know I’m preaching to the choir……
Once I did others came forward with basically the same story, only none if them got any compensation. My warning also stopped several from doing the latest update, thus saving their machines.
Many who were going to buy the new unit are now going to buy from their competitor. Many were not aware they regularly put out new machines and then stopped supporting them in a short period of time. They are now. Jan who says companies need to remember word of mouth can either make or break a company.
mortgage stays the same, cell phone bill is the same, insurance is the same, cable is the same, cc payment is the same.
What changes for me is fuel, groceries that sort of thing.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t check my bills every month – because I do. I just prefer to set it up 12 months at a time.
Two weeks ago I stupidly did an update on my main die cutting machine and the result was my machine stopped working. Yo-yo going down.
I called customer service and the first rep was very nice. She couldn’t fix it, but said maybe the next tier could because they were aware the update was basically killing some machines. So she put me to the next tier. I was hopeful, so I rode the yo-yo up.
That night second tier called and basically told dh and I “toughies” Yes, they knew their upgrade would kill some of the machines over 3 years old, especially ones nearing age 5. Which mine is, but it had only been used about 6 months of that time. I asked what they were going to do about it and was told “nothing.” Yo-yo going down smoking with angry heat.
You all know me well enough to know that was not acceptable. We are talking a $150 machine to replace and I have hundreds of dollars in accessories and materials tied up to go with it. After about 15 minutes of heated discussion, the guy offered me $15 to go away, I refused, he upped it to $20. I again refused pointing out that 1 minute before the upgrade the machine was working perfect. That it was the upgrade they demanded I do before I could get my project off their website (a project that used my accessories that I had legally purchased that were now linked permanently to their website) that destroyed my machine. I wanted a fix, a replacement or a larger compensation NOW. He refused, I demanded and received third tier. Yo-yo spinning at the bottom and starting to flame like what we called at ‘voo, a white man’s fire.
Third tier tried arguing with me, and it was not until I pointed out that had I been given a warning with a choice of the possible demise of my machine I would not had updated and that basically what they had done was a scam, and act of fraud she again offered me the $20 and the possibility of buying a refurbished machine as soon as they had one available, which would probably be in a few months, for $50.
I then said,” so the refurbished are older machines that would be subject to this same problem right?” She hesitated and then said, well maybe. I don’t think so! After nearly an hour on the phone I came away with a $30 credit because my machine was 5 years old and $150 divided by 5 equals $30. Of course the credit has to be used on their website. Yo-yo was hanging low all that night.
Next day, after reading various forums and such I started tinkering with the machine and combining all I had read, with my limited knowledge of electronics I got the machine running again, in the updated format. So if I, a know nothing, could fix it why couldn’t their tech people? Obviously they knew it was fixable, because they refurbish them and re-sell them. Scam anyone? Yo-yo moving back up. Only the accessory that was connected to it still wouldn’t work. This, however, I have a possible way to get replaced for free. And not by using the $30 credit, which I have no qualms about using on a different accessory because of their attitude and them saying “it’s your problem not ours. Most people would have purchased a new machine using a payment plan by now.” Yeah, right!
Then dh tried an add-0n program that had previously worked, yo-yo going down, it didn’t work. More tinkering and we got it to work! Yo-yo back all the way to the top. I will be doing no more updates with that company, nor will I be purchasing the new unit they are sending me ads on for $300. It has to be linked totally to them and a computer—want to bet what would happen with that unit after 3-4 years?
There are other die cut machines on the market in the same price category that do more and have a good solid reputation/reviews for their customer service.
Yo-yo stayed up with our official notices on ss that we will get our first checks the end of Feb. Finally, something in writing.
Cold weather, down, warm weather up, cold weather down, balanced budget up. You get the idea.
if we continue to save at the same rate, we have various amounts going into the different accounts. It would be 50 plus 70 plus 25 plus 50 each month. So, I guess it would be about a year. We could increase the amounts instead of continuing to pay on the snowball and could probably get there in less time.
This is exactly what I have been struggling with since DH found work this month. We would have been homeless in a heartbeat if DH hadn’t happened to have 8 weeks of vacation pay saved up….and the company wanting to avoid a lawsuit over DH’s termination, decided to pay it all rather than the two weeks they were obligated to.
The experience this year of being long term unemployed showed me the importance of having a 3-6 month savings built up. This month (January) we needed both of DH’s checks to pay rent and used my income to make the car payment, car insurances, and gas for the cars.
February 5th will be the first “disposable” income check we have. I did a plan for the next 4 months, the summary version had the theme “getting caught up.”
Then I realized our debt looked like this:
$2700 in various 7 credit card debts
$2000 in one single CC
$6500 in car loan
$5000 in IRS and state taxes (IRS is in abeyance due to DH’s unemployment)
I then realized that while I had planned to “get caught up” and pay all the CC’s the required amount to “get current”, and put some in savings, I could actually pay 4 of the 7 COMPLETELY OFF. Maybe 5 if I can work some deals with the CC people.
I have decided to act in faith, or trust in the system as Shay said, and pray (literally) that DH will continue to be employed. So my plan is to pay 4 out of the 7 off in February, the remaining 3 in March (and hope the car lasts that long), the large one with the 1st check in April, and pay the state taxes and put $1k into savings with the “extra” check in April.
Doing it this way, by the end of April, we could be debt free except for the IRS and the car. THAT MATTERS because if DH were to become unemployed again, we know that we can survive on the amount he would get on unemployment and what I bring in.
Would I like to have the $5k in the bank and “current” on CC’s? Sure. It would make me feel safer…that’s the equivalent of 2 1/2 months worth of rent, and I know your goal is to have 3 months of mortgage payment etc in the bank. But I’ve decided to take a giant leap of faith. It’s truly a leap of faith, because it’s scary thinking we could go through the same thing again, and this time, have NO nest egg to fall back on. Once the CC’s are paid off, I may revisit it and decide to slow down paying off the car and put 1/2 into paying off the car and 1/2 into savings, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it (right now, I’d probably hold my breath, pay the car off rapidly, because that is $400 a month off our backs and after the two months of paying off the car, I could be saving $2k a month)
that DR would say that I should, but I am not sure how to get past the anxiety of having the money there to help me feel more safe and secure. In fact, DR. would probably tell me to take about 5000 of it and pay things off, but I think that this would be way too much for me to be able to do emotionally. I am the type of person that needs security.
So, in the past few months, we have had all sorts of extra expenses. I fell on the ice twice and ended up with a whiplash injury the first time and a shoulder sprain the second time. They thought I might have a tear in my shoulder, but the good news is that it is just a sprain. That means 60 dollars a week for PT and other amounts for doctor copays.
Next, my son started having some significant issues with anxiety, mood, and not sleeping. It ended up that we found out that he is being bullied, but it took taking him to a counselor to find out. Now, we are addressing it, but that is an additional 20 dollars a week for that copay. He needs this given that he believed that he should let the other kid beat him up or he would not have any friends.
Then, we got two kittens from the humane society. This was a splurge I will admit. But now we have pet costs, most are temporary, but it was over 300 dollars in January. We still need to pay for a couple of vet visits for shots, etc., but then this cost will go down quite a bit.
I see these as needed expenses (other than the cats), but they have majorly set our snowball back. We essentially don’t have anything extra anymore to add to the debt payments. It is quite frustrating.
So, I do have more money in savings accounts that DR says that we need for step 2. In a joint account, we have 6300, my own savings accounts are about 4000 combined, and then my partner has about 1500 combined in her savings accounts.
I played the zero percent interest game last summer, with only two cards drawing any interest. The goal was to have the first one paid off by the end of the year, but we still have a balance on that card a full month after the end of the year. Then, another card with about 1100 also has interest. Combined, I could pay those off it I took 2000 from savings and paid them.
I am being told that I need about another month of PT and the counseling will continue for a while, but even getting that 240 dollars back each month will help us starting in March.
I wanted the extra savings because of the uncertainty of my partner’s job in that she works for the department of defense and politicians like to play with her paycheck and that makes me nervous. I am a tenured school employee so my job should be secure. Now that a budget deal has been reached in congress, the question is whether things are stable enough that I can warrant taking that 2000 out to pay off this debt.
Out of the zero percent interest deals, two of them expire between March and May and I’d like to start trying to pay those off before they start earning interest again. Tax refunds will help with this.