Life gets in the way. But I was reminded by some asshole today that my blog sucks, so even if no one is interested, I’m going to post something just to piss it off. HA.
So – my home equity loan – easy to refinance last November or so – then I noticed rates went down so asked if we could get the new rate? YES! So it’s at 3.99 and that cost us NOTHING.
My 5/1, which arguably was a huge mistake, now has an interest rate of 3.00%. Every year that it has adjusted, it’s gone down. Crazy. It’s certainly working for us right now. For these rates and many other reasons, I love my credit union. Find one for yourself! http://www.findacreditunion.com/
What else… last November we were at $352,211.05. Now we’re at $319,589.11. That’s $32,621.94 and I guess that’ll have to be good enough. Our car is almost paid off, so that’ll help quite a bit. For now I plan to throw that payment at debt, then I’ll start saving for the next car.
There really is something to using those debt snowball spreadsheets – even if you’re doing an avalanche or whatever. Just seeing that it’s possible for ALL the numbers to go to zero is really empowering.
At our current payment rate, it looks like everything but the mortgage could be completely paid off by March 2015. That’s not so far away. And maybe it could go faster if we work out our snowflakes.
Maybe I’ll do another update soon to see where we are on reducing specific debts (credit cards, car loan, mortgage, student loan).
Where would I be without spreadsheets? I use them for my budget, for my debt snowball, to plan how much I need in my emergency fund, and to track my escrowed savings. I’ve gotten a lot more adept at calculations in Excel. My latest addition to this is a new checking account at ING Direct.
Partly this is because I had savings there already (at 1.2% a much better rate than my credit union) and they said if I opened a checking account I’d get .25% interest and a $50 bonus if I made three signed purchases (not debit) in the first 45 days. I have two savings account, one for items I escrow and another for my emergency fund. It’s nice to have this separate from my other accounts, it makes it harder to spend the money.
My escrowed funds include money for:
- Preschool tuition/deposits ($1500 deposit!)
- Oil and wood for home heating and propane for hot water
- Real-estate taxes
- Christmas fund
- Vacation fund
- Home insurance
That’s been going pretty well. And it makes me feel a lot better. As I play it out, I always have enough to pay what’s necessary, with a little cushion.
Now that I have a checking account too, though, I am also trying to take control of some of the budget line items that are hard to plan for with precision. I hope this makes it easier.
- Household (includes minor home repairs, paint, shelves)
- Car repairs (includes inspections, maintenance)
- Medical (I get flex spending back for this, but it’s nice to have money planned to pay for it)
- Father’s insurance (I pay once every three months or so)
- Gifts (hopefully this will help with months that require more gifts — why does everyone have their birthday at the same time?)
This is experimental, but the checking account has already helped me — I paid my propane bill directly instead of having to transfer money back and forth. I’m hopeful! I wonder if I can get a spreadsheet to make me better at snowflaking?