Slow but Steady

Well the weekend was a bit crazy. I decided that I was going to sleep in this weekend and get up earlier next weekend. I feel that it would be best to ease into the weekend routine. All in all I feel it worked out fantastic.

Saturday was a very busy day with errands to run and things to get done. We headed to my in-laws so that we could celebrate her birthday. Friday we headed out to my brothers to get our taxes complete. We did fairly well, depending on how you look at it. We have decided that this year we are going to take the kids on a family trip to Disneyland in May. Anni would tell you that I am beyond excited about this. It will be just us, so it should be loads of fun. It is going to cost us more then we like to spend, but we feel that we need to create memories with our kids now. Now we get the chance to start looking how we want to go about it. Again, I am super excited. Sunday was relaxing as we had church and then came home and relaxed. We then proceded to head north one more time for an extended family birthday party for my Mother in Law and Brother in Law. It was a good weekend.

How am I doing on my goals? Really well actually. I thought today was going to be harder to get out of bed. But I was up and ready to go just after 5:30. I knew I had to get going as I had a ton of dishes to get done and a few other things as well. I was not able to accomplish all the items, like picking up the kiddo’s toys (Sorry love). But I was able to read the scriptures which is great to get done.

Except for the weekend I have done great with reading the scriptures. Truth be told I did not get them read over the weekend. Need to find the time to get that one done, OOPS! But I can already feel a change. It is real nice.

The focusing on things that I have now and things that I can control is a lot harder then I originally thought it would be. At times I do great, but others I feel I have slacked at. Again, this is a work in progress so I know it is going to take some time, but knew it would.

That is my short update for today.

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Making the Change

Okay, I broke the first thing I was going to do – write everyday. I missed yesterday. I can make excusses, but the point is I missed it. End of story. Moving on.

The past two days have been good. I have gotten up before 5:30. It has been hard to do. Sleeping in more still sounds so much better. It has been nice though. I have gotten up and done the dishes to wake up and then gotten in the shower and gotten ready. I then pack for the day and do anything else that is needed before I sit down and read the scriptures while I eat my breakfast. So far it has worked wonderful. However I am going to switch that up next week. It will all be the same, except I am going to exercise instead of the dishes and do the dishes before I go to bed. Hopefully that will work great for me. I am toying with the idea of not getting up at 530 on the weekends. But I feel I need to do it to keep my body in check. I shall let you know.

The scripture reading is going great. It is nice to set that time aside to read and get a different focus on things. I have written some great notes and have gotten some inspiration on things too. Right now it seems I am getting a chapter in a day. I am fine with that, I am not in it to read them but more to ponder them. Here is what I read today and really helped put my study into shape.

2 Nephi 4:15 – …For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.

I find that I need to delighteth in the scriptures more. I need to really be like Nephi and ponder them more. After all in that last part he has written them for the learning and profit of his children. I know I am not his, but really the point is we need study them. It was good to read that today. I realized that I do not want to rush with this and take my time. Should be a good thing to do.

The month is going well so far. Work is a bare but hopefully things will settle down a bit.

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Left Alone to Think

You could call it my own worst enemy, but when I am at work I like to think. Think of where life is for me. Think where I want life to go. Think about my kids, and just think. It is not that I think about work, it is just so simple I get to think about other things. As sad as it is, today I started to think about the month of February. It is the shortest month of the year and I remember reading on a blog once that it is one of the better months to try and tackle a goal. After all you only have 28 days (OK 29 this year) to do the task. So I am going to use that as my bases to write something everyday. Not sure what it will be about but it will be something.

Today though I want to share what is running around in my head. I want to accomplish three things this month. Here they are for me to remember.

  • Wake up every morning at 5:30. Most mornings I am awake at this time, I just do not get out of bed. I tell myself I have a half hour more. I hope by doing this it will help me be more productive with my mornings. I did not do well with this today but remember I have a freebie day cause of Leap Year.
  • Read my scriptures EVERYDAY and write my thoughts down about what has hit me. This I hope to do before I go to work, but if I do not succeed then I at least have the evening to do it.
  • With the last one I want to focus on what I have now and not what others have. I have been reading blogs, Facebook status and feeling down because I want to be like that or have that. I need to realize that I have wonderful things. So in essence I want to be grateful for one thing each day and mention it on the blog.

There we have it. I hope each day I can report on how these are going. I know it is not going to be easy, but I really need to make this change for the better.

Please join me in my journey.

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Time for Change.

I know, I have always said it and I never really do anything about it. But last night I have made the declaration that I need HAVE to change. Change in what matters you ask, well I shall share them with you.

Last night we were playing the Wii. Elizabeth seems to like it when we play and she gets to watch. It was getting close to bed time so I was winding down. I got the the Wii main screen and was getting a few things taken care of before I shut the TV off. Well, she always wants us to play more Wii and she said that she wanted to play Wii Fit Plus. Realizing that we had not weighed the kids in sometime we figured it would be okay. Shoot, we had not weighed in sometime too. So we got the program up and got the kids taken care of. Well the both had gained weight, which for them was a good thing. Anni and I however had also gained. Anni, a small amount. However I had gained a large amount. I got off and felt like a failure. I knew I was not being good and not keeping a better eye on the things I need. When I stepped off the scale I told myself today is the day turn it all around. I feel like crap, not pleased and happy with myself. I need to make the change and I will be doing it now. No more excuses. 

We have slowly been working on getting the finances in a better spot. We have done a lot better then i thought we would have. There are still somethings that we can improve on, and i hope that we can get them under control. Last month we had to get new tires for our Pilot. We put it off as long as we could but when we woke up to a flat after a week of putting air in the tires it was finally time. We were hoping my Christmas bonus would have been given before it needed to be done so we could use that to help. But alas it was not. We had the chance to skip a payment at our credit union and it was not the ideal option it gave us enough to help with the tires. However, we still had to put some of it on credit. The first thing i am going to concentrate on is getting that paid off first. It is on 6 months no interest. We have just under three hundred to go and have been one month paid. I am going to throw all i can at that and get it paid off.

Now is the time for change. I am working a map of what I want and need to do. Hopefully in the coming days I can get them on here and work on them.

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And Off We Go!

Here is what I typed this morning regarding our debt situation.

     I will be the first to admit it, I am not very good at money. I have always liked earning and spending money as fast as I can. I would put away the minimal amount my parents had asked that I do. I would pay my tithing and then the rest of the money was mine, and I would go out and spend it. Looking back at it now, really not the smartest thing one could do. When I got home off my mission I decided that I needed to change my habits. It worked. I had a couple of thousand dollars in the bank. I was excited and glad to have it. The money was for school and just as a cushion. It felt nice. Looking back at it now I honestly do not know what happened to my habits. I married a wonderful women who keeps a better idea of keeping things cheap. I on the other hand have fallen into the habits of before my mission. I am not going to say that marriage has been easy for us financially though. Medical bills seem to be the thing that haunt us at every corner. We have high insurance costs now and even when we were first married they were not cheap. The co pays always kill us. But what can we do? With our luck we would be sunk without the insurance. We have always tried to be financially minded and not get ourselves into trouble. We always tried to make the best choice. But we are not perfect and we screw up. Here are a couple things that we have done. At the time thinking that it would help.

1) We got an offer in the mail for a balance transfer for a credit card with a lower interest then we were currently having. Score transfer the max over and I thought we could handle it. Needless to say we are still paying the minimum on that card today.

2) We had a lot of misc. bills from our first two years of marriage. We had talked about getting them all paid off but keeping track was turning into more a nightmare then I wanted. So we went to the bank and consolidated everything into one nice loan. We had a “clean” slate. We did well with this, and I do not regret having it as it is a good tool to use. But I did not change my habits on my spending. And we are back to where we were before.

3) This one is more me then my wife, not living within our means.

Looking at our financial picture I put more of the blame on where we are then her. I am the one that was use to living care free, after all the money was in the bank. Now we are at a pivotal point where I need to change so WE can be in a better spot down the road. My credit is screwed up and I feel i have brought my wife’s down with me. We want to move into a house one day and in order to do that I need to change and get us into a place were we feel better. I have decided that the day of our financially turn around will start on December 1, 2011 (Who needs to wait till New Years right?) Here are a few steps that I have done to help with this journey.

 1) I have created a budget sheet for our income. We have finally worked something out that works for us. We have two bank accounts with the same credit union. In my account we pay all of the fixed monthly bills. My wife’s account we use as the everything else account. When i get paid we have a fixed amount that goes into her account. Lately I have been putting anything extra from the checks into her account to help with Christmas stuff. This will soon end though as we have decided that we are going to take any extra from the checks and put towards our debt. I am blessed that i get the chance to work as much overtime as I like. So that is helpful to us with paying things down. It has seemed to work for the past few months, if I do not pull my card out for stuff.

2) I have put the debt bills into a calculator and determined how much we are in debt. The total debt that we have is for $20,370.90. Ouch that hurts to see the number, but good to have it out there in the open. The one that really hurts though is the monthly payment of $567.00. Just to give you an idea our mortgage is only $715.00. Ya that number is the one that really kills me. But it is time to change that. Here is where we are at with some of the numbers.

Debtor

Total Amount

Interest

Payment

Credit Card 1

$4,162.01

22.9%

$125.00

Credit Card 2

$1,317.90

15.24%

$30.00

Consolidation

$6,390.77

12.25%

$159.00

Car Loan

$7,911.52

6.75%

$213.00

Quick Cash 1

$91.19

18%

$15.00

Quick Cash 2

$497.51

8.25%

$25.00

Total

$20,370.90

$567.00

Like I mentioned, the numbers are not pretty but it is what it is. With the same sheet I was able to figure out the best way to pay off the debt. Looking at it the best way will be the debt snowball. I am not surprised by this as many financial writers, gurus push this. As it is very easy to start to see success. Here is what we have to pay the debt off.

Debtor

Total Interest

Months to Pay Off

Month Paid Off

Credit Card 1 $2,319.53 44 Aug-2015
Credit Card 2 $373.54 34 Oct-2014
Consolidation $1,834.92 46 Oct-2015
Car Loan $988.32 42 Jun-2015
Quick Cash 1 $5.17 7 Jul-2012
Quick Cash 2 32.01 16 Apr-2013

Total

$5,553.49

Wow that really does hit home with how long it will take to get out of debt with just that. That is a very long time. It is amazing how easy it all racked up though. Granted, the numbers that are in there is if i were to just pay the bills with no extra snowball. Looking at my budget and my goal, i would like to put about 50 bucks more a month to help with getting things paid off sooner. Here is how it would look if I can put that much to the debt.

Debtor

Total Interest

Months to Pay Off

Month Paid Off

Credit Card 1 $1,784.76 33 Sep-2014
Credit Card 2 $204.71 18 Jun-2013
Consolidation $1702.52 41 May-2015
Car Loan $987.39 41 May-2015
Quick Cash 1 $1.78 2 Feb-2012
Quick Cash 2 $15.01 7 Jul-2012

Total

$4,696.17

That is a lot better to look at. Still a very long time to get it all paid down though. Just makes me feel upset that I allowed us to get where it all is. But the time has changed and we need to shake off all the things and get to a better spot. The nice positive thing with all this is IF we can stick with it we will be able to save $857.32 in interest in the next 4 years. That is a real good thing to keep in mind with it all.

Those figures that I have mentioned are reality. They hit me hard, but I realize that I have two choices. I can chose to do something about it or they can control my life by worrying about them and wondering what is going to happen to get them away. They really do haunt me. I hate looking at those numbers. Today is a new day and i will take the bull by the horns and do something about it. I hope to post more on what is going on. I feel this is very therapeutic for me to do. Join me on the ride and I hope we can see success, together!

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-$6.57 In Checking

Well, the title pretty much sums it up. I was looking at it today and noticed that when all the bills I am in charge of go out of my account I will have a total of -$6.57 in my checking account. Ya, not a pretty thing at all. In fact this morning when I realized that I had a sick feeling in my stomach. Now it is not like it is the end of the world, my wife has about twenty bucks in her account. But, that has to last until payday NEXT week. O boy. That is here account and that is where household stuff comes out of. Let’s just say that the next week is going to be fun.

The good point with all this of course is it has got me thinking about our finances again. Even though they have never been in the best shape to begin with. But today is the day this all changes. Last week when I got paid I discovered that my jump drive had burned out, and of course I never did do a backup on the thing. Lesson learned, finances are not to be completed on a jump drive. So this gives me a clean start with everything, actually a great feeling.  The paycheck for next month starts at the begining of the month, so I can start with a new thing. But, this time I am going to be doing them at home where I will be able to back them up. I am really hoping that we can start to see some success with getting this debt monkey off our backs. Here is what I am thinking of doing.

  1. We need a budget. We have recently discovered that if I pay the fixed bills and my wife takes care of the extra stuff it works for us. But to be honest I always fly by the seat of my pants on what my check amounts are and where the bills go. This weekend I want to create a budget based on me working 43 hours a week. (I work a ton of overtime which is nice). By doing this I will be able to have extra money for paying things down.
  2. For the next two months I am going to pay the minimum on the CC’s. I do not like this idea at all, but looking at it if i do this that will allow me to pay for Christmas without adding to the debt. Also it will allow me to allocate some money to a few lower items that have been nagging at me.
  3. I want to post my daily struggles with what I am going through. Should be a fun ride, you should join me.

Ya, it is not ideal but I need to start to get working on this. I have long term goals that I want to start working on, but need to get a control of things first. Please, come join me in the adventure of our life.

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2 Choices

I was able to do something this morning that I normally do not get to do, take public transit. Growing up my father worked for the local transit company. That allowed us to have free bus passes. I loved riding the bus to places, his work, my friends house and even to a summer job. As years went by the rides were fewer and fewer. While I was on my mission my dad was let go, it was actually a blessing for him, and the free yearly passes were gone. When I enrolled in the local community college as a student I could get a free one. I had one throughout college and tried to take the bus as often as I could. I loved it, worry free commute and time to think. Well, today we have an eye doctors appointment for my daughter. My wife likes me to go to these ones as my daughter inherited my poor eyes. We have found it easier as well. When we have this appointment I take public transit to work so we only have one car, the appointment is close to my employment. As I was riding the rails today I thought, and as I walked the longer distance then was planned I thought a lot too. Here is what I thought about, and decided to do.

I pondered about things in my life, where things are right now, where I want things to be in the next few years. The areas included, my family, my health, our finacial situation, my current employment and my level of happiness. (looking at that list it sure is a lot in just over an hour of commuting.) I just let my mind wander really, which was really nice. As I was thinking I kept asking my self what I could work on for that catergory or improve on. There was one thing that I kept going back too. I have two choices.

  1. I can do nothing about it and just keep letting it worry me, or
  2. I can do something about it and let it change my life.

It would be easier to pick #1, but I want to see a productive change in life, so I am going to pick #2. I want to see change and I want to see if change my life. And the most important thing with this all, the change starts today!

I pick #2!

 

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