In case you don’t know, FreeCreditReport.com is a scam site- they tempt you to the site by making you think you can get your credit report for free, but we learned this week about “Opportunity Cost” - and the credit report is simply a benefit of signing up for their Credit Monitoring Service that actually costs $14.95 a month. If you read the fine print it’s there.
Due to Federal Law, consumers are allowed to see one free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies once a year. If you plan it out, you can get one every 4 months, by doing a different one each time.
For more information visit annualcreditreport.com. This IS NOT A SCAM SITE- Notice - annualcreditreport.com - IS NOT A SCAM SITE.
Of course as expected, we were able to complete Baby Step #1 (Start an emergency fund, by saving $1000), thanks to our tax refund. I recognize that I’m merely getting back what I loaned Unckie Sam in the first place, but the money hit the right spot. IN addition, we have $500 to pay the deductible to have our bumper fixed as a result of a car accident last week, as well as some money set aside designated to fund a trip to Baltimore in April - I realize that vacations are supposed to stop while working the plan, but we will be getting our snowball rolling here quickly. 401k cut back, W4 corrected, and Amy starting working this week watching children in our home…. we might also do a vacation in May at the Outer Banks, with my parents and the rest of our family and a few close friends.
Having the zero-based budget has really helped us to know right where our money is allocated, and implementing the envelope system this week, we recognize how much money we have, and it’s on paper on purpose…. has a name. Next month will be a test…not having the tax refund, and getting caught up and paying our mortgage on the first instead of late after my second check… it’s going to be tight.
In a moment of Gazelle Intensity I adjusted my 401(k) allocation to 0% - we should see an increase of $150/month to add to our debt snowball… when we have our debt paid off, I’ll re-allocate. But until then …..
So we’re a month into this thing. This week’s lesson on Dumping Debt was very encouraging, and also a bit discouraging … it’s discouraging for me mostly because I work for one of these greedy marketing machines… they pay me well, so I’m not looking for a new job at this moment, but everyday I face the chance that my co-workers and I are next on the chopping block. But this is about Dumping Debt, not working in your strengths…
Amy and I (mostly Amy) succesfully put together our 0-based budget - planning on tax refund, and catching up on our mortgage payment that is consistently late. Part of our 0-based budget involves some carry over from this month and our tax money, to start paying or mortgage payments on time again…as well as taking half of our mortgage payment from each of my bi-monthly payments.
This time next week we should have Babystep #1 complete- thanks to Uncle Sam giving me my money back… it looks like we’re also going to be re-directing the “found” money we’re receiving as a result of changing my W4 withholdings into snowflakes on our debt Snowball… I haven’t worked the worksheet yet, but Amy says that we should be completely debt free in under 10 months. This in addition to having a $1000 emergency fund, will allow us to make the money start working for us, instead of us working for the money.
You might have noticed these deals in the grocery flyers: “Spend $20 on selected products, get $10 off your next purchase.” Right off the bat, these deals promise better prices than you would normally find, because the products involved are almost always on sale for the duration of the special offer. Normally, you are either offered a sale price or a “buy-one-get-one” offer, which is essentially half price. But with the above Catalina example, you are being offered half off the sale price – assuming you are able to use the coupons you earn for things you would have bought anyway on your next visit.
So in imagining what this looks like for us, it had been very difficult to figure how out to get this to $1000 quickly, without selling one of our kids. But I think we got it now. Thanks to lending our money to Uncle Sam, and the opportunity to get it back, we will be able to get this done within the next month or so.
The other thing is that I’ve taken the opportunity to look at our federal withholdings, and I’m way over paying - I could’ve figured this out a while ago, but getting $5,000 back a year was nice. That will be changing, taking into account the W4 worksheet, I’ll be claiming one less than I’m allowed (just to be safe, and not OWE at tax time next year), and ideally, adding $400/ more a month to our income. Getting us well on our way to Baby Step 3. Now granted next year we won’t receive the refund that we will this year, but if I invest that over the next 12 months, I’ll hopefully be compounding some interest….and will have the money working for me and not Uncle Sam.
I went to the Entemanns Store near church this morning and got the following for $18.50:
5 loaves of bread, 2 bags of stuffing mix, 2 boxes of blueberry mini muffins, 3 boxes of donuts, 3 bags of rolls and two bags of bagels!
the total before savings would have been $54.76!!! that’s a savings of $36.26!! I am sooo excited! so now we have a deep freezer full of bread and rolls. its the good stuff too, multi-grain or whole wheat not just “cheap” white bread. So for example I got a loaf of regularly priced bread $3.19 for only $1!
So in a church the size of ours, with a mission to put over 1000 people through FPU this year, it’s obvious a large task. I don’t know the exact number currently, but will by Sunday afternoon, but I imagine that there are at least 130 people going through the Sunday class, and at least that many on the Saturday night class. The need for “table leaders” is great. Amy and I decided that we would fill this role. The table leaders sit at the same table, with the same people for the entire 13 weeks of classes. The table ends up having about 10 people or so… it becomes a small group of sorts, with holding people accountable, and facilitating discussion. We’ve been told repeatedly that we don’t have to have the answers… and WE certainly don’t.
Anyway, we had a table leader meeting tonight. Mostly to give us some insight into how the meetings will be run, and to introduce us to the other table leaders. It wasn’t super exciting, but it’s just one more step closer to starting the class. I’m looking forward to it.
I went to Kroger for some cold medicine. Amy had clipped a coupon for Theraflu. When I got to the aisle, I had choices. I wanted the medicine I saw on the ad last night…Honey Lemon Infused with Chamomile & White Tea… I didn’t see it but I did see a couple boxes with a coupon right on the box. So I got the $4.99 tablets with $2/off coupon, and used an additional $1.50 off- the $5 medicine cost me $1.45