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Intro: Jodi's Blog
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Intro

October 27th, 2005 at 01:41 am

I don't know how often I will be able to do this, but I know being forced to account for the money we spend will be helpful. Right now I am in a very fortunate position of sharing my parents' home with my DH and kids (ds1, age 2, and ds2, age 10 months). We moved here about two years ago after we sold our home, but had not yet found a new one. It was supposed to be temporary...but we liked it here and my parents loved having us around. It was nice to share the household tasks, the expenses, and the fun. DH and I have a great relationship with my parents and made them promise to tell us when it was time for us to move on. So far, in every conversation, we are welcome to stay. So for us, housing and utility costs are minimal. We pay a portion of the phone, electric, dish tv, groceries, and Netflix every month. Since my parents own the house, there is no mortgage. This is what enables to raise two kids on the income we have, which is not much right now.
DH lost his job in July very unexpectedly and decided to go back to school for his teacher certification. Luckily, he was accepted into a program that will continue to pay unemployment benefits for part of the time he is going to school. So we have about $300 coming in weekly for at least a few more months. I work a half-time job, which gives us our health benefits, plus I have been able to pick up some extra time over the past few months. So that brings in another $550 - 800(net) every two weeks, depending on how much I work. I also sell real estate, mostly part-time to friends, relatives, and referrals. It's a nice source of extra income (app. $5-10k per year).
We are doing okay now, although we do have some goals we would like to meet. We have a 0% interest credit card that we used for everything over the last few months. However, the 0% rate ends in November, so our first order of business is to pay that off. I think we owe about $1200 on that. We can pay that out of savings, but then we'll have to work to replenish our savings.
Next, DH has a $8000 car loan from a new car he bought last January. Our next goal is to pay that off. I will have two substantial real estate commission checks coming in over the next month that we will use to cut that in half. Then we'll work at chipping away the rest.
Lastly, we have student loans. And more student loans. We had our original $35000 ($17,500 each) cut down to about $18000 ($11000 on mine and $7000 on DHs), but we had to take out new loans for DH - about $4000 a semester times 4 semesters...oh boy. So we are going to chip away at mine after the car is paid off since his are in deferment.
We do have about 6 months of expenses in a savings account, but I am fanatical about not touching that. I know to some degree it does not make a lot of sense, since we are earning so little on it (making less interest than we are paying on our loans), but I feel I need to keep my security blanket. I do not plan to save for my kids' college, since DH and I had no help from our parents and did quite well with financial aid (we will never be big earners), but we do set aside some money for the kids every Christmas and birthday. Maybe we should rethink how we save for them.
Anyway, that's my introduction. I hope to use this as a venue for personal accountability, although DH at times does not like to account to me his expenditures Smile We'll see how it goes. I have read others journals with great interest and hope to continue to glean many good ideas. Maybe I can help others as well.

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