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good mail day and pay day

December 17th, 2009 at 06:36 pm

It was a good mail day today. I talked to a friend of mine the other day, the one that bought a laptop from me, and my husband delivered it. He didn't know how much I was charging, her husband thought $200 and she thought $250, so my husband said just pay me when they saw us again. Um, all FOUR of us have cell phones, so you could have just called, but whatever Smile Anyway, I haven't seen her for over a month now, but talked to her on the phone, and she said "I owe you for that laptop! How much is it?" Told her, and she mailed it to me, even though we only live like 10 miles apart. lol. So that check came in today.

Got a refund from a radiological outfit that did my ultrasound when I was pregnant. That was $16.03.

Got our 4% patronage check from the coop, for $71.50.

That should all go to the snowball. The monthly snowball is at $370, and I got it up to $850 for this month. The electric bill was $5 less than I thought, so it went up to $855.

But, because the Federal Government is run by nincompoops, it went down by $100. Let me explain. I switched bank accounts for the bills, and I changed the bank information on the Direct Loan website. BUT, that doesn't change your automatic payments, it only changes the manual one time payments. Of course that isn't stated anywhere on the site. So, my 11/14 payment didn't go through. Got a letter saying that I missed a payment and it would be going into forebearance. WTH? I've never missed a payment. I logged in and made a payment of $100 to make me current from the new account, and then I called, and they said you have to download a form, put the bank info on there (even though the new bank info was already on the website) and send it in by mail. Because of that, I thought that the $100 web payment wouldn't go through, so I sent another $100 payment in by check. Looked at the bank statement today, and they got both payments. Called today, and they said I have to make another web payment in January, because it takes 30-45 days to change that automatic payment information. REALLY? I can do that immediately on most sites! Again, WTH?

The more I interact with the federal government, the more I realize they are all pretty much idiots or just don't flippin' care. Either way, it reinforces why I am a conservative Smile

Anyway, that extra $100 payment makes the snowball go back down to $755 for this month. At least I didn't just blow it...it just went to goal #3 instead of goal #1 (1 is house, 2 is smallest credit card, 3 is student loan).

But now, I can add Round($200 + $71.50 + $16.03 + $755) = $1045 to the house, and only about $300 left! Yeah!

I got a bill for the chiropractor for $141. I have a $500 deductible on my insurance before they start paying anything, so I think I am about half way there (year is October - September). But, $141 will come out of my non-bills account, and then I'll take 1/2 of the gasoline bill I get from work and pay that out of the non-bill account ($170.50 is half) with one more paycheck before the end of the month which will cover the other $170.50. That leaves about $105 in the non-bill account as of pay day today (after the above mentioned bills) which I could send to the house as well. $1045 + $105 = $1150. My next paycheck is 12/31, and I want to pay this payment for the house before the end of the year, but maybe I'll wait until that week and see how the non-bill account is coming, and I might be able to send more in. All Christmas gifts are done, and we don't have any travel to speak of for Christmas, so I don't see any problem with that.

The plan was almost 4 months (3.88 to be exact Smile ) to pay off the house at the original snowball, and it looks like I will be damn close in 1...and if the government hadn't screwed me up for $150 I KNOW I could have done it in 1!

So someone asked how we budget. I have three different checking accounts. One is strictly for bills, one is for gas and food and misc stuff, and one is for farm. Of course these somewhat liquid, because after all, when a bill has to be paid, a bill has to be paid. But this is the ideal way I have it set up.

I deposit $600 every two weeks in the non-bill personal account. I deposit $1000 a paycheck into the bill account, and the rest goes to the farm account, about $295.

I don't really budget the $600 or the $295, because the $600 is pretty flexible, and there is a big buffer in there if I get in trouble, and I haven't figured out how to budget for unexpected farm expenses. But, I do have a strict regimen for the bills.

Easiest way is just to show a screen shot:

As you can see, I do it in a spreadsheet. OpenOffice.org, in fact. The free version of excel.

So, let's go through this. The top four lines have been paid, and have been reconciled with the bank from the last statement. That is shown by being gray and having the black column Cs. Under that black is an X, so I can filter on blank or non-blank (you can't filter on color).

The next 12 lines have all been paid, but not reconciled, because they are gray without the black box. Chase Visa #1 (line 215) and Bank of America (line 217) have been scheduled to pay on those dates, shown by being gray with no black box.

Yellow lines are automatic. I put Auto on some of those lines, but really don't look at that first column, so Auto isn't on all the lines it should be (oops). I color them gray when they are done (the day of or the next day, depending on when I check the spreadsheet.)

The orange ones I have to log on to that site and schedule a payment, and once I schedule it, I color it gray (I don't wait until the day of. That is why Chase and BOA are gray now).

The blue ones I have to send a check to, so I have to schedule it ahead on bill pay. The date on the spreadsheet is the due date. It will go gray when I send the payment.

The green one is the current special emphasis item. That is where I keep track of the current snowball. It will go gray when I send the payment.

I actually have this scheduled out until the end of February. The lowest I'll get is $48 on 2/10, but I'll get paid on 2/11, so that should be ok. I have a gap between bills from the 14th to the 25th, so if I need to change bank information at work (which takes a paycheck before switching, and during that switch, we get a paper check) I can deposit it and allocate the money as I said above.

You can see that I allocate $200 a month for gas for the house (line 219) but on line 198, I only paid $67.01 for that bill. The difference goes to the snowball.

How did I get $200, you ask? Well, that is another sheet...

These records go back to Jan 2007. Again, gray means it is done. I have two sheets as a check on myself...I could code it to automatically update one sheet when I do the other, but I like to see both spreadsheets in their respective formats. Yellow, orange and blue mean the same as above. Green isn't on here, because it wasn't a monthly bill (private contract, with very understanding previous owner). But when I start snowballing a credit card for instance, that one will be green.

First column is what is due, and the second row for that entry is the max bill since the beginning of the sheet. You can see that on line 14/15, The most I have ever paid Kansas Gas is $197.15, so that is why I budget $200. Now for Geico, the most I had paid for that is $123, but I change policies and it is now $68.04 every month without fail, so I budget exactly $68.04. Variable items get budgeted the most and exact items get budgeted exact. Once I know the exact amount for a variable bill, I update it.

The rest of the spreadsheet are due dates and amounts due. I started this when I was juggling bills for two houses (mine and DHs when I used to work 2.5 hours away) and I couldn't keep track in my head when everything was due. This very easily shows the due date and the amount, and the other shows if I have the money to pay!

My other two accounts just look like ledger sheets, and I use gray and black boxes on them as well, but no other colors Smile

1 Responses to “good mail day and pay day”

  1. Jerry Says:

    I agree on the government being staffed (largely) by nincompoops, and I know first-hand the frustration that it leads to since I'm prior-service military (even worse nincompoopness!). Anyway, since I'm now living overseas let me confirm that it CAN be worse, though. =) Government workers in this area of SE Europe are even slower, less motivated, and more annoying. I wish we had some insurance that there would be better employees, but it's tough...

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