Hello, I need to know

if anyone has any information/experience with crystal run health care? I have been offered a wah pt position (to supplement my ft day job) with them. The interviewer (online interview) said that they require a software purchase (that is supposed to be reimbursed at a later date) in order to provide me with a preloaded laptop with the required accounting software necessary for the job requirements. The software is all legitimate, but I am still wary. I am highly hesitant to pay a company. Any advice is sincerely appreciated.

I have had several “let’s be real” conversations

about how much debt we’re going to try to pay back this year, how much production we’re realistically able to pull off, and how much we have detested the slow-but-steady increase in the pace of things around here every year. Our 2012 was beyond ridiculously busy. “All work and no play makes Kathryn go non-linear.” We had to dial back our plans and expectations, or at least work smarter rather than harder. So this weekend we started to recrunch numbers to see what we could do with a more sane pace of production. We also decided to do a few things really well, rather than branch out into new areas of production and maybe waste a lot of time, money and effort in those learning curves. While our total earnings will be less over 2013, I think we have a much better chance now of arriving at our next New Year’s with some shreds of sanity still intact.
Interestingly, we’re still discussing whether to get the combine so that we can start raising/harvesting our own feeds, and we’re now talking again about doing some tree harvesting even with the development moratorium I talked about last week. The numbers for the combine are just TOO good – we’d spend around $3000 getting that monster home, and we could plant and harvest our first grain crops this year. Given that we currently spend $300/week on grains for feed, we’d have a rapid ROI. So we might go forward with that. The jury is still out on how best to tap the income potential of the trees, but that’s one of today’s projects.
So, to all you Type A folks out there, yes we can push too hard to pay off debt, particularly when we a) get angry about how much we owe and b) can adjust our hours worked up/down according to our own goals. The migraine on Wednesday was proof positive that I was pushing those goals too hard. The Millie moment was that DH and I actually decided not only how much we want to earn this year, and how fast to pay off debt, but also what kind of quality of life we wanted in the mix. It’s one thing to scrimp and save but it’s another to try to push so hard that we make ourselves sick. No point in that at all. So we’re marching a little more slowly and carefully into 2013 this week, looking for ways to work smart, rather than hard.

Last week was ….. interesting.

Being the first full week of January, post holiday, it was time to really dive back into the planning and spreadsheets and calculations to figure out what we had on the immediate horizon for farm production (ie, income production) for 2013. While I had already been working on that stuff prior to last week, I was far enough along with my numbers to start figuring out how much of this and how much of that would earn what amount of gross and net income. On top of that I had just filled out the Debt Snowball spreadsheet with the rest of our debts, now that we know our tax bill and now that we’ve paid off a few of the smaller bills during our first full year after DR. You know how the years are measured in either BC or AD? Now I have an alternate meaning for those terms: “Before Cash” and “After Dave”. So now that we’re starting 2AD, I wanted to start the year with a bang. Get that snowball calculated, get this year’s income calculated, and then get busy raising food for the county, and food for the gazelles.
Unfortunately, being the driven Type A that I am, I pushed too hard in all my planning categories, figuring “well, sure I can do the work of three people! Why not? That’s what caffiene is for!” (oh, the mind games we play with ourselves when we see something we really want). By about Wednesday morning I had worked myself into such a tizzy over the debt snowball and 2013 earnings, that I had our little farm producing enough food to feed 1/3 the continental USA, and I’d be working 23.932 of every 24 hours to grow it. And it still wasn’t enough to get that snowball where I wanted it. Also on Wednesday, because the Universe has impeccable timing, we found out that my DH is probably going back on OT for at least some of the time during 2013. That revelation came about 30 minutes after I realized I’d need a lot more of his help to raise all that food to generate all that income. Suffice to say yours truly hit the proverbial brick wall at about 50mph on Wednesday afternoon, and sprouted one heckuva migraine. Wednesday night was not a good one.

I just have a cell phone and no internet.

Cable is a touchy subject. We did just switch from Time Warner at $80 a month to Dish that is $40. Dh is all on board yet, so I can only cut certain places out. If we can’t go out then we have to have something is his reasoning.
We could cut groceries more – like I said we rarely spend more than $70 – $75 a week. But as above – more severing is difficult. At least at $100 budgeted groceries, we have some “blow” left.
Gas is a place I worry about also. With my business, I’ll be driving a ton more than I used to. Aldi’s is only a couple miles down the road and other than that, dh drives to and from work and I drive to preschool to work to preschool to home. And that’s it. But like I said, it’s going to go up. I can deduct my miles for business, but that doesn’t help me now.
I think bottom line is we need more money coming in. I’ve pushed dh as far as he’s willing to go at this point in cutting costs. Once I get some $$ coming in things will be easier.
I don’t mean to shoot down everything.

When my daughter was younger she loved to give people a dozen roses

Aah before your mouth drops, she really enjoyed making her bouquets out of Hershey’s kisses, pink saran wrap and pipe cleaners. She would put two kisses flat end to flat end and then wrap the two in the plastic wrap.That would make the flower. Then affix a pipe cleaner to an end, if you have some green tissue paper make a leaf and there were a dozen roses to give to that special someone.

We took a cash

funded trip to Denver Thursday-Sunday for business. I ended up spending the whole time in bed sick with the crud. I am still sick and the first available appt. is tomorrow at about 4:00 PM. Now dh is sick. Dh took me to a walk in clinic, but they did nothing to really help. Plus they could not figure out how to confirm insurance coverage so they will bill us …. even though I had a current insurance card from Blue Cross of Louisiana and a valid ID. Don’t get me started on walk in clinics, complete with fake doctors and all. Argh! I am toughing it out to see my real doctor tomorrow.

This is my big fear: buying a lemon

So far we’ve been very fortunate, each vehicle was been wonderful. Our last car we searched almost a year for. When we finally found the perfect fit to what we wanted, we were shocked that this particular car was less than we’d been finding from other dealers, and it had more options, brand spanking new tires, and was even the color we wanted. We’re still happy with the car today. Best of luck!
I called back to the dealer to confirm tomorrow because it was such a long drive. Another salesman who knew I had 7 kids to said if I was him I wouldn’t buy that car. He said he knew he drove it not long ago and the motor was skipping. So we passed on it. Bummer ! My dad and DH are going to check out a well maintained Suburban that fell into our lap randomly today. It has all service records and has space for a 4th row if we need it. I am not looking to spend a fortune. I got two teenagers who will be going to college in the near future. Maybe this will pan out

I did have a lot of fun with a salesman the other day.

He assumed we were poor and was giving us a hard time. I asked him politely to come down on the price. He said no rudely. I looked at DH and said ok let’s go. We left him there with his chin hanging as we left with our cash. He started blowing up my cellphone less than a 1/4 mile away. We chose another dealer. I think I have more fear I might buy a lemon and set us back or something. I have done a ton of research and this is a good deal. Everything seems legit and I have waited a few days on this particular vehicle to make sure I wasn’t jumping too soon.

You’re normal

It’s hard to part with your hard earned/saved dollars. Every car purchase we’ve made in the past 9 years has been with cash, and I’ve felt sick to my stomach every time we’ve parted with those dollars. It’s emotional. It’s a lot of money and you hope you’re making the right decision. I have to admit, I feel sick to my stomach every time I’ve purchased a new sofa too! lol It’s just one of those things I think for people who value their savings.

I have all my bills set up for payment thru online banking

The only 2 checks we write now are one for the cash to fill envelopes and one to our church. Bill paying is so much easier with online banking, especially with a mortgage as our only debt and loan till payday from Florida. Dh and I still have ongoing conversations about what we’ll do when the mortgage is paid off. I would love to have it paid off by the end of 2017. We would still have to put back $$ for insurance and taxes but retiring that debt will free up substantial cash each month. We want to build a workshop in the back, possibly fill in the pool, and who knows what else!

We are 38 and 42

I am a SAHM and DH is self-employed. We have been on Baby Step #2 for 19 months. I believe that Maurice talks about retirement should only be stopped for 18 months. Is that right? Or was it 18-24 months? I can wait another 6 months to start, but I’m not sure we will be debt free by then. And we certainly won’t have a 3 month FFEF done by then.

I feel like time is slipping away in our retirement account. We aren’t getting any younger and we only have $30,000 in our retirement accounts.

Should we start contributing a little bit every month to our retirement account even though we aren’t done with our debt snowball?

My wife and I

try to do as much as we can with fundraisers so we do put about $200 a yr aside for that for our son and his school. We do not do all of them since they have so many every year.

We did stop soccer for the fall and will start up again in the spring. I feel bad but we need to make sure we have as much money saved so if one of us gets let go due to reductions we are not so bad off.

How do you budget for the odd ball expenses?

Examples that we have/ had come up lately. Scout fundraiser, we buy 1 item from each kid roughly 16$ x 2 kids = 32$ (then they sell to the neighbors, friends, etc)
School fundraiser, we let them pick 1 item each so they can attend the magic show, 15$ x 2 = 30$ (this year Memaw paid for it, awesome)
We didn’t want them to miss out on the magic show but we don’t have the time to do 2 different fundraisers so we had to pick one.
The school will have the same fundraiser in a few months.

Mandatory Military Ball – DH has to go and the cost is 50$, found out about it this week and money is due next week, they figure everyone gets paid on the 1st so no problem.

UGH! And its not the same time of the year and not always a yearly thing. Some its one a year, some its 2 a year, some years they skip it, all depends on what mission the military is doing from the current base.

PTO fundraiser/ Haunted House/ Halloween thing – 5$ per person x 4 = 20$, this is our first Oct in this school district and that’s just for the haunted house and one game ticket, if we buy now we get a free hot dog dinner thrown in. Otherwise its 10$ per person for those 3 items. Granted we don’t have to go, but its nice to support the school and this will be our entertainment for Oct. We don’t do anything fun anymore that costs money, no out to eat, etc.

Things that come every year at the same time I can budget for and this being our first full year at this school the fundraisers were unexpected. Our old school didn’t do any fundraisers in the fall, we always had carry over money from the previous year. Also the Halloween stuff was always something the kids earned and then it was free. If you didn’t get your books read you didn’t get to go. And then in Nov there was a free night of games & bounce houses and stuff that was to promote family fun.

So do you just pick a number and say 40$ goes into an envelop for unbudgeted pop up expenses and when its gone its gone?

Also thinking I might need to line budget an item called Military for the mandatory stuff, the formal dinners, the awards that DH has to chip in on, the hail & farewells (also at restaurants, DH is good through he usually has water and the cheapest thing salad, a burger, whatever so when most have 50$ checks he is never over 10$ usually in the 5$ range depending on the restaurant) and have this separate from the other expenses as this is not optional and generally last minute. Sometimes he finds out the day he needs the money so not really easy to budget for in advance. What Im thinking is set a monthly dollar amount and save up then when it gets to about 200 stop funding it until he spends some. Some times he will go months without needing it and others it will be 20 to 50 $ every month for a few months.

Oh and this weekend we have a scout camping trip 25$ for the family and the boys HAVE to go. The old scout pack didn’t have mandatory things, it was if you want. This is not optional. Although not sure what they would do if we didn’t go…lol.

You’re welcome

Every time I read that you aren’t current on the taxes and licenses, I worry about you. I know from reading your posts and your sig line that you have little ones, and I just don’t want anything bad to happen to you, especially while you have them in the car with you.

If you have a cards with a $500 or less

the min payment it $15 or higher, more than the 3 or 4 % of the balance. so if you have 4 cards with $100 balance on it, the min payment will be at least $15 (15% payment) that is a min payment of $60 where as one card with $400 balance will have a min payment of $16 (4%payment). so in this scenario, the first person would be paying $44 more than the second, but both are paying the min payments.

Karen has quite a few account that are pretty small, so this will come into play, not as dramatic as the example, but the same concept is there.

with Dave’s plan, we are not really worried much about the interest rate, but more worried about reducing the number of accounts faster, to get the “at-a-boy” experience.

The biggest difference though s you debt is on one cc

where her’s is on like 10 cc’s/accounts. so her monthly minimal payment will be more than yours. that is what makes it so much harder.
but she is not in as bad shape as she thinks she is in. slow, yes, it will be a slow process, but because she has some debts with small balances, the snowball will build up nicely over some time!
good luck!
Ok, here’s something else that should encourage you. My total debt is close to $55,000, and I don’t have any car payment. I have *1* CC with a balance of $31,800. I also have a mortgage payment of $840, and I bring home $300 less than you do($2600/month). If *I* can do it, you DEFINITELY can do it.

OK, just play along with my questions..

Have you seriously considered the following?

At what age do you begin seriously planning for retirement?
At what age do you begin to seriously think about your health in retirement?
What if your health deteriorates, what provisions do you have for your care as you get older?

I think some people tend to only consider the money needed for retirement or have come to the conclusion that they never will retire, but very few have conversations around their health as they age..

If you’re following Maurice’s plan, you save 15%

Why do you feel guilty? Maybe because you know that you are only counting that match into your retirement to justify getting that sunroom a month or so sooner due to the extra you’ll have to throw at that budget item. That you are shortcutting your future finances by taking that extra 3% today for things that you want to do.

Keep in mind that most companies have a vesting plan on the match. Meaning that you must be employed by them for a certain amount of time before you get the complete match. So if you leave that company in three years voluntarily or not you may only get 50% of the matched monies.