Saturday, February 26, 2011

Money Drains and Does the "Law of Attraction" Work?

I'm trying to have a positive attitude about money, but it is so frustrating to keep running into people essentially forcing us to pay money.  A couple weeks ago my sister set up reservations at a very expensive restaurant for our parent's anniversary.  My idea of how much we were to spend was about $100, but it ended up costing $180! So we were essentially forced to pay $80 we didn't want to.  Then last night my husband got a parking ticket, so that's another $33 we are being forced to pay.  So add those two up we've had to pay $113 just in stuff we were forced into paying just in the past couple weeks. Not to mention, we just paid $400 in car repairs last week. It's just so frustrating because it seems like the money goes faster than we can make it! 

I believe in the power of a positive mindset, so I know I need to get into a better frame of mind, but I need to catch a break!  Yesterday I felt like I was in a very good frame of mind.  Over the past few years I keep hearing about the "law of attraction" which is what you think about will manifest into your life.  So yesterday I felt really good about money coming into my life, but then I found out about the parking ticket. So if I felt that good about money, but then got the traffic ticket, it kind of makes me not want to think positively about money.  I think I'm a little superstitious about feeling good about money because it seems like whenever I finally feel good about my financial situation and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, then something bad like a car repair, a vacation costing a lot more than planned or even this parking ticket comes along and makes me feel like we'll never get ahead.  Let me know below if you have any suggestions on how to get more positive and manifest more money into my life.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Numbers Update

Well good news and bad news - bad news is one of our vehicles needed new brakes, so we have to pay about $400 for that.  But the good news is at least I've been able to put some money towards the mortgage the last couple weeks.  Here is an update on the numbers:

Mortgage 1: $184,979.58
Mortgage 2: $19,449.35
Total: $204,478.93

Amount left to pay to get to $200,000: $4,478.93
Amount left to pay to break even*: $8,478.93
Amount left to pay to be done with 2nd mortgage: $19,449.35

So at least the second mortgage now officially begins with a "1"... I'm looking forward to just 4 digits, but that'll be a while, so my next goal is get the total including the first mortgage under $200,000.  If everything goes well, I should be able to do so by June 1st.

*I had to change my break even amount to $196,000 because of a recent update to the value of our house.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So about that vacation...

As I mentioned in my January 25th post, I was forced to take a break from paying down the mortgage due to a vacation. I proposely didn't go into a lot of detail about it because I was ashamed about how much we are spending on it.  I am definitely not "acting my wage" and honestly we have no business taking this extravagant of a vacation given we are $10K under water on our house.  When I first got my job I figured all the income I made would be extra.  I had my head in the sand about the house at the time and figured the house to be at least worth what we owed so I never really thought about it.  So I thought we would have a bunch of extra money laying around and we could have some fun with it. So I briefly mentioned it was a goal of mine to visit Japan some day. 

Well next thing I know my husband is buying books about Japan and looking at travel agencies.  Based on a little research I figured we could pull it off for about $6,000, and since I didn't think we had any issues with the value of our house, it seemed like a great idea and I was getting excited to go.  My husband has been emailing a travel agent for a couple months and she finally got around to booking it and giving us the final bill. Well like everything else we have bought lately, it ended up costing more than we thought.  I knew it would cost a lot for airfare, but apparently hotels in Japan are very expensive too. So it cost about $9,000 for the trip - not including meals and other stuff we'll need when we get there there (like bus/train tickets etc).  So it's going to cost over $10,000.  I'm already having buyer's remorse because $10,000 would get us to the "break even" point on the mortgage.  I have to keep telling myself that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and not the type of vacation we could take if we have children someday.  I also need to keep reminding myself the whole reason I am trying to clean up the finances is so we can be more wealthy in the future - and why do I want to be wealthy in the future?  To do things like take vacations such as the one we are taking in a couple months. So yes, I feel ashamed that I am stressing out over money when we are taking such a nice vacation, but then again you only live once right?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I need a bigger shovel

Well I sold 4 items on ebay. I received $46.43 in my paypal account, but not all of that was profit:

- $15.02 postage
- $3.00 packaging (approx $.75 x 4)
- $2.41 ebay fees
$26 profit

Well $26 is better than nothing, but I can't help but feel a little discouraged lately because like Dave Ramsey would say I'm trying to fill a huge hole with a small shovel.

When I got my current job last August and found out I would be making $13/hour I was thrilled because I had not made that much in several years. Now reality is set in and I'm finding my little $13 per hour (or more like $10 after tax) is not enough. I'm finding I'm getting sticker-shock more and more often. Everything is costing a lot more than I thought. I'm frustrated that everyone can demand so much money from me, but I can only make $10 an hour (or maybe $13-14 if I'm doing overtime). I'm frustrated that people like doctors, car mechanics and even restaurants can charge hundred or even thousands of dollars to me for 1 to 2 hours of their time. We went out for dinner with my parents on Sunday and my siblings and I paid for my parent's meals, so it ended up costing us about $180! I think we were there for less than an hour and a half. The depressing thing for me is it takes 2 whole working days for me to make that much! I need to figure out a way to make more money per hour.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Good thing we're not selling our house any time soon

So as you probably know if you have read this blog before one of my main goals right now is to pay down our mortgage so we are at least at the break even point - so we don't owe more than our house is worth.  Well the house was appraised last fall for $200,000.  Right now we're about $6,000 away for reaching that milestone.  However today I just saw something this really disappointed me.  I just checked and according to them, our house is worth $196,000.  When our house was appraised at $200,000 last November, I checked Zillow a few days later and it said it was worth $210,000.  So if Zillow's estimates are on the high side, then our house may be worth even less. As you can see by the chart below, our house value has gone down dramatically since we bought it in late 2007.  I'm jealous of my younger brother who is buying this month and is getting a deal and won't be losing over $50,000 in house value like us.  I guess we just have to be thankful we are not planning on selling soon, and hopefully the value will start going back up soon!

(Click on image for larger version)

Tax Time - Can Making More Money Give You A Tax Credit?

It's tax time and I have good news and bad news.  The bad news is we owe the state $370, but the good news is we are getting back $720 from Federal. So we are ahead $350!  We bought a new patio door this year, so sadly, if it wasn't for the Energy Star tax credit, we would have only got $200-something back from Federal, so we would have had to pay in over all.  So this could be the last year we get any sort of refund because we will hopefully be making even more money this year.  One thing though, we could have qualified for a "marriage tax credit", but we didn't qualify because one of us (that being me) didn't make at least $20,000 last year.  You know how much I made? $19,978.29.  So we missed out on this credit by $21.71!  I have no idea how much this would have helped, but now I wish I would have worked 2 more hours last year!  Does anyone know what this tax credit is all about?  I never heard of getting a tax break for making more money!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

9 More Days

In only 9 more days I can start paying down that mortgage again.  I have to put away this week's paycheck for the trip, but the check I get on February 17 should be able to be put towards the mortgage!  Yay for being one of the few people that actually gets paid every week rather than every other week... I'm impatient for that money to come in as it is!

In other news I recently had a birthday and got $190 worth of checks as gifts!  Money is my favorite birthday gift:) 

Here are the income numbers for January:

Husband's income: $3,898.54
My income: $2,232.83
Total: $6,131.37
So the income was a little higher this month than last month.  As you can see my husband's income went up a bit because we are not setting aside as much in our health care reimbursement fund this year.  Last year I ended up getting LASIK only because we had to use up the funds or lose them. Unfortunately my husband signed up for a personal trainer, so a good portion of that money will be lost on that extra bill.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mortgage Principal Balance Update: February 1

Even though I just paid the minimums today, the mortgage balance is going down just a little.  I hope to get back to paying extra before the end of February, but I must get the balance of our vacation paid first. Here are the numbers as of today:

Mortgage 1: $184,979.58
Mortgage 2: $20,719.35
Total: $205,698.93

Amount needed to break even on our house value (mini goal #1): $5,698.93
Amount needed to pay off 2nd mortgage and be done with that monthly payment (mini goal #2): $20,719.35

I believe I said a few weeks ago that the second mortgage balance would begin with a 1 by this time, so I'm a little disappointed to see it still close to $21K.  Hopefully it will be a 1 by March 1st. I worked some over time this past weekend and I have a birthday coming up so hopefully I will be getting some cash as gifts!  I'm also thinking of going through my stuff and finding some stuff to put on Ebay to raise some extra cash.