Becoming Debt Free in 2009

January 30, 2009

Boring Day Doing Taxes

Filed under: Random — ambercouric @ 9:52 am

I am going to spend the day working on our taxes.  Hopefully, we will get a little back to put on the car.

Have a great weekend.


January 29, 2009

Student Loan Info Needed

Filed under: Dave Ramsey,Debt,Personal Finance,School Loans — ambercouric @ 10:26 am
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I know very little about student loans.  I know that there are those that think they are great and those that think they are the devil.

A friend was asking me some questions and I thought I would just stick the info out for all of you to answer.  If you know of other bloggers who know a lot about student loans, I would appreciate if you either let me know their site or ask them to stop by here and answer.

Here is the situation:

My friend’s son wants to go to a school that is private and in another state.  The total to attend is $47,000.   The EFC calculator gave them a figure of $8,000 for them to pay.  They have no idea what kind of financial aid will be offered but she says they have NO money to pay.  So for a hypothetical situation say he has to borrow $30,000 per year.  That would be $120,000 over four years.  How are the terms set up -over how many years?  What types of loans should she look for?  How much would the monthly payments be if they borrow this huge amount?

Again, I know nothing about student loans but will be doing some research.  Please share your student loan experiences with me.  I would like to be able to have an intelligent conversation with my friend about student loans and what to expect.  She does have the option of paying by taking out a  second mortgage but I think this is a bad idea.

I must also say that before reading several PF I would have said ABSOLUTELY NO LOANS – but with insight from Dog Ate My Finances and Shtinkykat my opinion has lighten up a bit.

I welcome comments from parents, students, or anyone with any opinion on this

January 28, 2009

Cheap Food and A Bonus

Filed under: Food,Shopping — ambercouric @ 10:23 am
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Last night I had to run into Food Lion to pick up some candy for Kennedy.  While there I decided to pick up a loaf of rice bread.  I can only eat rice or tapioca bread because of severe allergies and at $5.89 a loaf  I don’t eat a lot of it.  But while in Food Lion I noticed they had a ton of stuff in their organic section reduced to less than a dollar.  I was able to get nearly $100 worth of bread, pasta, snack bars, egg replacer, and potato starch all for less than $10.  All of the items had dates of Oct. 2009 or later so I bought enough for a long time.  This was a huge find because it is RARE that I find a deal on allergy free items.

My SAT student stopped by yesterday with a gift.  She was thrilled with her score increase and wanted to do something special for me.  She gave me a bag filled with $200 worth of giftcards to various places.  This will be such a treat since several of the cards are to places like Starbucks, Barnes & Nobles, Chilli’s and a local speciality store. 

It was so nice to have a day that just seemed to all go right.  Especially, since January has been such a hard month.

January 27, 2009

About this cash only thing

Filed under: Cash Only,Dave Ramsey — ambercouric @ 10:03 am
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I’m spending less money.  I looked at the check register this morning and there is about $200 more in there than normal at this time of the month.

So even with the many extra expenses this month it seems that we spent less than normal.

January 26, 2009

Weekly Budget Cut #1

Filed under: Budget,Debt,Food,Goals,Weekly Budget Cuts — ambercouric @ 10:19 am
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In an effort to make $400 worth of cuts to our monthly budget, we have decided to find one item each week to cut.  We have only one rule – if for some reason the “cut” doesn’t work we can replace it with another cut for the week.  We do have to have at least one cut each week that will stick.

So now for the cut of the week.  Sara Lee bread.  We normally go through 2 loaves of bread each week.  We only buy Sara Lee bread because that is all my older son would eat as a child.  He thinks bread has a smell and Sara Lee didn’t.  So, this cut was replacing Sara Lee bread with store brand.  With the total savings per month being about $12.  I will say this was Kennedy’s idea.  Well, it didn’t work.  Half way through the first loaf of store brand bread DH and Kennedy both said they just couldn’t eat it.  It had a funny taste and the ends were hard.  For the record, I am allergic to wheat so I can’t eat it so I can’t speak for the taste. 

So, how did we make up for the failed budget cut?  We changed what we put on the bread.  I normally spend at $12 – $15 on deli lunch meat each week.  I buy turkey, salami and roast beef.  We have decided to buy only one lunch meat per week and buy no more than $6 (usually a pound of one of the items on sale).  Once the meat is gone the rest of the week will result in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  We expect to save $24 per month with this change.

We decided to be very specific with each cut.  Instead of cutting the grocery budget, we have to list exactly what we will cut and how it will affect the budget. 

Only $376 more to cut.

January 24, 2009

It doesn’t take a lot

Filed under: Giving — ambercouric @ 10:41 am
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It doesn’t take a lot of money to make a big impact on someone.

Kate over at CheapCharity tells how she spent a Friday night.

I think in these economic times I sometimes forget to be thankful for what I do have.  This post really made me realize just how blessed I am and not just in material possessions but also that my children have a warm place to call home.  

Now, I need to make a run to the local food pantry and drop off the 3 bags of food that have been in my trunk since Monday.

January 23, 2009

Trust Fund Baby – NOT

Filed under: Kids — ambercouric @ 10:00 am

I had an interesting conversation with Ashby.  We were discussing the pay cut my husband just had to take.  He suggested we use his trust fund.  Now we do have a college fund that he isn’t using because he has a full scholarship.  We plan for him to use the fund for graduate school. 

Anyway, as we were talking he asked at what age he would get his Trust Fund.  TRUST FUND.  He has got to be kidding.  I told him there was no trust fund and once out of college he would be paying his own bills.  He said he thought he would have enough money to last a year or two after college to get started.  You are NOT Paris Hilton or any part of the Hilton family my dear son.

Well, to him it seems that the “Trust Fund” and “College Fund” are the same.  I said the college fund is for COLLEGE only.  Any money not used for school goes to pay off my mortgage.   The same goes for Kennedy’s college fund. 

My dear son Ashby is no trust fund baby.  I think I just ruined his day.  If he has scholarships and doesn’t use his scholarship money I am sure we may give him a NICE gift but the entire fund – not in this lifetime.

Also, just for info.  The funds are not set up as college funds in the boys names.  My husband and I both went to college on full scholarship so we set up two accounts in our names knowing that we may use the money at some point.  But we won’t touch the money except for college expenses until both boys have graduated college.

January 22, 2009

Procrastinating Costs Money

Filed under: Budget,Debt,Journey to Debt Freedom — ambercouric @ 10:40 am
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I’ve needed to book a flight for a week or so now.  When I first looked at the prices the cost was $98 round trip.  Before I booked I wanted to check a few other details of the trip and just put the tickets on the back burner.  Well, I checked this morning and the tickets are now$205 round trip.  I went ahead and booked but I ended up paying more than $214 more for the two of us just because I waited.  I knew about this trip earlier enough but procrastinating costs me a lot in the long run.

Focusing on all the “little” things doesn’t help a whole lot when something big like this gets overlooked.

I am ready for January to be over.  I have spent more money this month while I’m trying to save than I spent in probably the last six months of last year. 

 One step forward 10 steps back.   Anyone else feel like this?

January 21, 2009

The Weekly Budget Cut

Filed under: Budget,Debt,Journey to Debt Freedom,Weekly Budget Cuts — ambercouric @ 1:13 pm
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We had the “family meeting” to talk about the mandatory pay cut my husband has to take.    While we didn’t go into specifics as to the total amount we came up with the idea of making a weekly budget cut.

The goal is to eventually cut the budget by $400 per month.  But instead of doing it all at one time we will decide on one cut per week and implement it.  No “cut” is to large or to small.  It just depends on what we agree to as a family.  Ashby won’t get a big say in this since he is not here much.  Of course, when he is here during the summers he will feel the effects of whatever we decide.

We decided to do this as a slow process for two reasons -1) to make it a game 2) to make it an easy transition so no one feels deprived.

I realize that we could go all “gazelle” but since we do have a good emergency fund we feel like the cuts are more likely to stick with us having to put effort into making decisions based on our priorities as a family.

Each Monday I will post our “Weekly Budget Cut”.  Give an idea of how we decided on the particular cut and post an update of the total we will save per month.

January 20, 2009

Snow Day, Vet Visit, A New Coat

Filed under: Kids,Pets,Random — ambercouric @ 11:01 am
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It’s SNOWING in South Carolina.  I mean it is really snowing.  Has been for several hours now.  Snow here usually lasts about 5 minutes.  Today we are supposed to have snow for about 6-8 hours.  I’m not sure how much will accumulate but there is a good chance that things will be shut down again tomorrow.  That is both good and bad.  I have so much to do that just can’t be done with people here.  The dogs are loving the snow and so is Kennedy.  So we will sit by the fire with hot chocolate all day.

The puppy had another vet visit yesterday.  This one was $98.  She got her last set of puppy shots and some medication for her ears.  I never knew that dogs with long floppy ears tend to have ear infections.  My little animal shelter rescue pup is becoming a DESIGNER pup very quickly. 

Remember THE LIST – Well Ashby went out with friends over the weekend.  I think another friend needed a coat so they went to the mall to find one.  Ashby called to say he found a coat on sale.  It wasn’t leather and I have no idea what it looks like but he got it for $13 from Old Navy.  He said it was originally around $100.  He was quite proud of himself and I must say I was quite proud too.  Sounded like the deals were so good several of the boys bought coats.

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