Categorybudget

I’ll go first on this one

Six months ago, as some of you might remember, DH and I were on the verge of splitting up. We’d had SO many fights over SO many things, we were both ready to toss in the towel. But we held on. Not merely held on, but we worked really hard to figure out where all the angst and anger and fear was coming from for both of us, and how to look those monsters right in the face and say “NO! We won’t let you run our lives anymore!” A lot of ghosts from mistakes our parents made, from events in the past, and/or from mistakes we made. What was the line from Ironman 3? We make our own demons? I truly believe that’s the case. But we waded through the worst of it and kept going. Now when a piece of farm equipment breaks down or we have some unexpected health bill (my dislocated collarbone has been a big problem the last few months), we can put that in context and think “yea, but we’re still together. And that’s something.”

I’ve already gone through one divorce, and yes there are times when both people would be much better off on their own. That was definitely the situation with my first marriage. But this time, we both knew we’d be positively miserable apart, so a breakup wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interests. Yet we had so many issues to work out, and we STILL have so many issues to work out. But we’re plugging away with it. We also have issues of our own to deal with, and sometimes those monsters seem too big to slay as well. It’s odd when the financial monsters seem tame by comparison, after having been so focused on the financial monsters for so long. But slay the big dragons and suddenly the little dragons don’t seem so bad. They just sort of hiss and spit out sparks, instead of laying waste to entire cities like Godzilla. So we’re in the “hissing and spitting out sparks” phase of things. We’re not quite to the “laughing at Murphy” yet, but we’ve moved well away from “the next straw is the LAST straw.” Not yet a comfortable place to be, but much improved over where we were.

What’s the line from the country song? “If you find yourself going through hell, keep on going!” Because there is a much easier, nice green pasture on the other side. Just keep plugging away and you’ll get there. In our case, we’ve made the decision to get there together. We’ll deal with whatever hissing-and-spitting mini-dragons we encounter along the way. And for that, I’m very very grateful.

Since I would send already budgeted money

to the credit card every three days or to bring the balance to $0, I wouldn’t increase debt or even see a monthly bill (which I never would do). Of course, if no monthly bill, then how could my CC effort have any effect on my FICO score?

The great unknown is it’s impact on the FICO score, which former Evil Financial Empire employee (her words) Kathryn mentions that the impact will be slight. Kathryn, I save your email and will look at it again in five or so years when I go to get a home loan. Great advice!

On balance, having a snake in my hand that is looking for ways to bite me (Kathryn’s words again) in exchange for little positive impact (maybe even negative impact) on my FICO doesn’t sound like a good deal.

Instead of guessing, the better approach, per Kathryn, would be to approach a mortgage lender when I have the savings and not debt, and tell them I wanted to strengthen my position to get a really good loan package at some point in the future.

The last time I learned of my credit score was April 2010, and I think it was 710. I got a free copy of my credit report yesterday and it has one negative item (A Macy’s charge card where they never sent me a 2003 bill for $70 that I learned about way too late) and I have 31 accounts in good standing going back to September 1993 (Creditor’s loved me because they always made good money off me). It’s spooky to have my credit history going back almost 20 years (Is that normal? I heard most items drop off after ten years, so why does my credit report go back 20 years?)

PS – those credit score breakouts should be “between 600-750″, not “600-650″

We keep losing power today and I was trying to type this out for the second time before I lost it again. Got going too fast. But I just double-checked the rest of my numbers and they’re all what they should be. Also keep in mind that debt-to-income ratios have probably gotten more restrictive since the financial nightmare of the last few years. Lenders who were anxious to lend in my day, are now working from the “once burned twice shy” position. So those ratios might have changed. But the general principle still stands – anything that potentially boosts your debt payments per month is a bad thing. Anything that cuts your debt payments AND increases your savings (ie, your safety net) is a good thing. Focus on those two latter items, and forget the credit card. It won’t help you, and may actually hold you back.

I have been working on next month’s budget

I have our budget in excell and I can easily do a “save as” for next month’s budget, which is what I usually do. There is not a lot of change from month to month, mostly just a tweak here or there.

We have added in mowing for every other week. I had suggested it to dh and he had not said much, then a few weeks ago said he needed $$ to pay the guy to mow. I was like, “what? we finalized that?” I had begun to put a little back per month for next year. Now that we have given ourselves a raise, as of July 1 (first raise in years), it was easier. (The biggest % is added to the mortgage to the extra we were already paying.) So we are allowing for that every other week. I plan on stashing some every month even in the off season for mowing. Hopefully that will get us far enough ahead that we can do it every week next year. dh is mowing on the weeks that the guy does not come. It gives some relief because some weeks he has something almost every night.

We went out of town last week for a business trip. We went to Red Wing, Minnesota to learn more about how Red Wing boots are made. This will hopefully help us sell more RW boots. This learning trip hits the pocket book in the long run in a good way if sales go up. RW paid for the whole trip. (We had to kick in for one of the airline tickets, parking our vehicle and food at the airport (YUCK), and for the occasional snack/coffee when not in a meeting. We had as much fun as we could considering we were in meetings the bulk of each day. We did not get home till about 1:00 AM Friday, due to late flight home. Red Wing had the meals catered and the meat portion was tender but let me add—no disrespect intended ….—all the food definitely needs some flavor. We are used to food flavored generously where we live. Our food is not necessarily “hot” as in red pepper, but plenty of spices are used. I was so glad to get home to some salt and pepper, and I don’t mean the band!!! LOL

So right now we are in pretty good shape. We are blessed and know that though we cannot meet all our goals right now, we are in much better shape than we would be without DR’s help.

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