July 2017 Net Worth Update

Hello, there. Pardon the lack of enthusiasm, I am a bit annoyed at myself. You see, here I am ready to write out my August Statement of Net Worth, and I find I never posted July! And then when I go to post my July Statement of Net Worth I find that I never even wrote it!

So now I’m going to try to write this post a month later, and try to conjure up the level of enthusiasm I would have had, had I wrote it on time! On to the breakdown!

Statement of Net Worth. July

Assets

The house and the Dart continue to fall in value, sadly.

Our savings account appears to have fallen a great deal, but that’s because I ran our numbers just after paying the bills, so the holding account was at $0. Normal fluctuations there.

Liabilities

We have a new account here: My husband opened up an Amazon Store card. This is a card I have been interested in for a while due to the 5% cash back on regular purchases, and special financing options (0%) on purchases greater than $150. He purchased parts to build a new computer. This is 0% interest for the next 6 months, so we will be decreasing this by $100/mo in order to pay it off before the promotion ends.

Other than adding the Amazon account, all our other liabilities decreased nicely! Aside from Navient, of course. I’ll come for that eventually…

Debt Payoff

At the end of June, we were able to pay off RAC: $127.43, and we were able to pay an additional $206 on our next smallest debt, Vermuelen’s! $100 remains to pay on this debt.

Our smallest 3 debts now are:

  1. Vermuelen’s – $100
  2. Radiology – $346
  3. Amazon – $516

You may notice that Radiology is at the same balance as our June 2017 Statement of Net Worth. I had another math error somewhere along the way, this is the correct balance.

We have a very modest increase in net worth of $484. World’s better than an decrease! So we again are at an all time high net worth: $(65,669)!

Thank you so much for following my journey.

XOXO,

Dolores

What Happened When I Stopped Asking “How?”

HowIf you had asked me a few weeks ago how I would go about achieving a goal I would have told you I follow the SMART Principal…. Loosely. A SMART goal is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound. I didn’t actually know this acronym off the top of my head, I had to look it up. Anyway, my long term focus has always been on what it reasonable and attainable. I realize now what is reasonable and attainable is a matter of opinion and can change drastically.

July was going to be a short month for me, and I wasn’t going to be able to put any extra income toward my debts.

One of the people in the #debtfreecommunity on Instagram posed the question, “What is your goal for July?” Without asking “How?” for the first time ever, I responded “Have something extra to put toward debt.” That was neither reasonable nor attainable for me in that moment because I wasn’t even sure if I was going to have enough to make my minimum payments! Add to that the fact that I enrolled my daughter in driver’s education for a cool $330 (something I had already been putting off for some time), I had no idea how I was going to pull any of this off aside from dipping in to the savings for August bills. This goal was not specific, it was not really measurable ( …greater than $0?), and about the only thing it had going for it was that it was Time-Bound. By the end of July, I would have something extra to put toward debt, I just didn’t ask how I would pull it off, and how much would be a success.

Then funny things started happening.

I got a raise. I got overtime for the first time in 4 years. The Driver’s Education price dropped to $305 and wasn’t due until August. My husband who is typically not cooperative with our debt free journey sold his unused TV for $400 and paid off 2 debts on his own. We now have a surplus for the end of July, and we have already paid $400 extra to debt!

A couple days ago while doing dishes I watched a YouTube video called Napoleon Hill Secrets to Financial Freedom (you can view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kj9Ny3kv0zA&t=310s). The narrator said “Asking ‘how?’ is what failures and losers do. Winners and successful people never ask ‘how?’ first. They define their dream first.’”

This seems to be in direct contrast with the SMART Principal outlined above. Perhaps when I was making sure that my goals were reasonable and attainable all I was really doing was underestimating myself and the universe’s funny way of giving you exactly what you need. Here is a poem written by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse that I discovered while reading The One Thing that sums this up perfectly:

I bargained with life for a penny
And life would pay no more
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store

For life is just an employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menials hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.

June 2017 Net Worth Update

Hello and welcome to our June 2017 Statement of Net Worth Update which is extremely late even though I had the numbers ready by 6/2! I’ve been busy settling in to the summer routine, finishing up the side hustle, and I’m working on diet and exercise lately. So sorry I have neglected my blog! I get summer blues and usually find myself more motivated in the Fall/Winter seasons. I’m strange. Anyway, on to the breakdown!

Statement of Net Worth. June

Assets

You will notice an incredible decrease in our Car Insurance savings, because the car insurance became due! So all this money got cleaned out and we were able to pay the car insurance in full without a problem. That was a great feeling. I also charged it to our Capital One account before paying it off to earn 1.5% cash back. Yay, free money!

Starting July 1st we will start an automatic transfer of $325 per month in to this account so we will see it growing again soon!

The Dart lost another significant chunk of value this month as well, but looking at the liabilities section makes me feel a little better about that. The value of the liability decreased $208 compared to the decrease in the asset of $188. It still stinks, though.

Again, the decrease in Savings – Reg is a holding place for our paychecks until we pay all the bills on the last day of the month so that will go up and down in value but it doesn’t mean much for reporting purposes.

Liabilities

This was a good month, with only the Navient going up in value $121. I had planned to increase my payments to this account in order to avoid growth in my liabilities, but I have become very active in the Instagram Debt Free Community and they advised me that I should go ahead with the Debt Snowball method so that is what I’ll be doing.

I have some more liabilities that I haven’t been completely honest about. Well, not un-honest it’s just I failed to add them to my spreadsheet. They are RAC once again. My husband has a laptop on 0% interest. As of the writing of this blog, the balance is now $169.84.

We are also on a payment plan for the medical bills I discussed in a previous blog. In fact it has been my intention to write a blog about our success with the Compassionate Care program – Our $1,800 bill got knocked down to $378.83 and we were placed automatically on a payment plan of $127 per month. I just never got around to writing that blog. We also have a radiology bill for the MRI he had to have of $746 which we are on a $100/mo payment plan. These are all 0% interest of course.

Vermuelen’s didn’t come down at all because I have been counting $50 ahead somehow and just caught on to it. Whoops! This is the corrected balance.

Debt Pay Off

Hey, what is this? This is a new section where I will discuss what debts were paid off this month (if any) and where I will announce future debt pay off plans.

It just so happens we did pay off a debt for the month of June! That $1,800 bill that became $378.83 is now paid in full! This saves us $127 a month on our total bills each month. Win! Now, our 3 smallest debts at the end of June will be: RAC – $106.27, Vermuelen’s – $306, and Radiology – $346. I should have $350 left after paying bills so we will hopefully be saying goodbye to RAC and possibly Vermuelen’s as well!

Conclusion

You guys! We are now at our HIGHEST Net Worth since I started my blog in October! I only see good things from here on out, We increased $1,560 for a Net Worth of $(66,153)!

As always, thank you for reading. Please follow me on Instagram for daily updates on our journey! @networthnegative

XOXO,

 

Dolores

May 2017 Net Worth Update

May.SNWWelcome to another installment of our Statement of Net Worth updates!

I have been slacking on posting lately, I apologize for that. I have a lot of ideas that I would like to share with my readers so I’m hoping to get back in to posting once weekly. Also, I’m on Instagram! Please follow me @networthnegative.

We have made a nice recovery from last month’s decrease of $3,354 with an increase this month of $3,011!

I’m excited because I don’t foresee us having any more decreases in our Net Worth for about another year. I am considering the Central A/C replacement in March of 2018, and we will be buying a used car that same month because our lease for the Equinox is up 3/31/2018.

But, I digress. On to the breakdown!

Statement of Net Worth. May

Assets

Only one decrease in assets this month which is the Dodge Dart depreciation. Quite a sizeable decrease though. $268 in only one month!

You may have noticed that the Savings – Tax CD account name has been changed to Savings – Car Ins. I mentioned to you guys in a previous post how I was unable to put anything extra toward debt for a few months because we were recovering from our car insurance costs. Well, now I have made a plan to contribute an equal monthly amount to this account automatically so that we will be able to make our car insurance payment in one go. We also charge this bill automatically to our credit card and earn 1.5% cash back on it. Winning all around!

The car insurance is due 5/11/2017 so we will have a ginormous decrease in this account next month. Sad face. We are being charged an exorbitant amount due to having our son on our policy and then we recently discovered 1 error on each of our credit reports so we are working on getting those errors fixed and then we will shop around for different car insurance quotes. I heard a quote today: “Your insurance company isn’t loyal to you, so don’t be loyal to your insurance company! Shop around!” I do love my agent though, but he’s not worth $2,020.32 for full coverage on 3 cars for 6 months. Sorry, Chris!

Liabilities

2 liabilities increased in value this month and that was the CP Credit Card and Navient. The CP Credit Card continues to be a problem. We went on a bit of a spending spree for my birthday (April 5), and we spent a lot this weekend attending my best friends graduation (flowers, parking, gifts). My card has been put away since the day after my birthday, but my husband still has his and refuses to be cooperative.

Many of our credit card transactions are restaurant visits for us. I like to think that I’m doing much better about cooking dinner at home every night, but the credit card statement says otherwise. Also, my husband is a fan of picking up the check when he has lunch with friends much to my chagrin. His generous spirit needs to be reined in.

As for Navient, this was an odd increase this month. Typically we see over $100 increase each  month but this month it was only $87! I think that may be due to the timing of the month when I’m writing this post. It’s the earliest I think that I’ve ever been able to give an update on our net worth since I changed both our student loans to autodraft on the 1st instead of the 3rd of the months.

Overall, we see an increase in net worth of $3,011 and that brings our Net Worth for 5/2017 to $(67,713). Our record highest net worth was in 11/2016 of $(66,969). I’m sure we can beat that next month! We have only had 2 consecutive months of net worth increases since we started tracking in 10/2016 so having consecutive months of increases in our net worth will be another goal.

Coming up in May:

Fully funded baby emergency fund – $1,000

Drastic decrease in Savings – Car Ins

0 increases in liability accounts???

Thank you for reading and following our journey!

XOXO,
Dolores

Small Scale Home Improvement Goals

 

I have mentioned previously how I am trying to increase not only the value of our home so that it can help our Statement of Net Worth but I am also trying to increase our intrinsic value of our home.

My goal here is to make the home as comfortable for us as possible so that we stay here as long as possible. We however are not going to go overboard with a $15,000 kitchen and bath renovation! I have listed a few small things that we can improve over time that will not break the budget but will make our home so much more enjoyable.

Dishwasher

The dishwasher has been broken for quite some time. It is old, clunky, and doesn’t wash dishes all that well. I have gone through different phases of rinsing the dishes really well before putting them in the dishwasher to washing the dishes and then putting them in the dishwasher to rinse and sanitize.

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One day, I went to throw a load of laundry in while the dishwasher was running, and realized it was raining in the basement!! The dishwasher was literally pouring water through the floor and through the ceiling of the basement!  And it was falling directly in to my laundry room sink so I had never noticed because I had never happened to go in to the basement while the dishwasher was running. What makes matters worse is that the water was raining right next to an electrical box. We were risking our home every time I ran the dishwasher and I even didn’t know it.

New dishwasher: About $500

Floor

I have tried to get the dishwasher replaced before with a tax return a few years ago but learned that the laminate flooring was actually built up around the dishwasher. We were told by the Sears installer that we would have to completely rip up the floor in order to put a new dishwasher in. Which I’m kind of okay with because look at this floor!

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It was like this when we moved in and it’s probably damaged due to the leaky dishwasher.

We have original hardwood throughout the house so you would wonder why they covered it up with a fake wood sticker, but my husband pointed out that it was probably so the transition to this added room would match.

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Ripping up a whole floor is way out of our budget, though. I was told by another handyman that we could actually lift up the counter top, swap out the dishwasher and then put the counter back down and re-caulk it. That will be the plan, and I would like to of course replace the flooring (cover it up) at some point with a realistic tile like this:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Armstrong-CeraRoma-16-in-x-16-in-Cliffside-Beige-Groutable-Vinyl-Tile-24-89-sq-ft-case-A6207161/202709126

Approximate cost for flooring materials for approximately 124 SF: $300+

Garbage Disposal

I would really like a garbage disposal and I think it would make my life easier because my family is constantly throwing scraps in the sink with their dishes as if we have one!

http://www.homedepot.com/p/InSinkErator-Badger-5-1-2-HP-Continuous-Feed-Garbage-Disposal-BADGER-5/100091168

Garbage disposal: About $100

Speaking of the laundry room sink….

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This thing is dark and scary looking. Especially with our old washer that used a ton of water! Sometimes it would get clogged and I would have to reach down in to the murky depths to clear hair and lint out of the drain while imagining dead mice and other scary things that I might be touching that I couldn’t see!

When we bought the house, the hot water faucet was broken, and when we swapped out the old washer and dryer my husband had a hard time with the pipes because they are so old and corroded.

I’d love this one:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/BigTub-Utilatub-Combo-40-in-x-24-in-Polypropylene-Single-Floor-Mount-with-Pull-Out-Faucet-P-Trap-and-Supply-Lines-in-White-28CF/203155730

New laundry room sink and faucet: About $200

Interior Doors

We have old fashioned bedroom and bathroom doors with the old fashioned doorknobs, the kinds that screw on to a square pole. Our door handles are completely stripped out so they go flying off their poles and sometimes they go missing.

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My daughter is taking advantage of the situation by using it as a way to lock her door. This is a safety concern however; if there was a fire we would have to bust her door down!

Not to mention the bathroom door. Our husky, Aspen is a bit claustrophobic. We tried kenneling him and he would poop and pee in his kennel and pace and try to chew his way out, and actually broke a tooth! So we tried leaving him in the bathroom while we were gone to work and school for the day. He pooped and peed and paced in there, too and it would take forever to get the smell out of the house, and well, this happened:

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We have since discovered if we leave him loose in the house while we are gone and make sure that our house is completely dog proof all he does is take a nap on the sofa (where he’s not allowed) and looks out the window. I just have to sweep off the sofa every day, and I’m okay with that.

I found some really great door handles on Amazon for $12. Similar door handles with privacy locks run about $30 at Home Depot.

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We were advised by the handyman that we could fill the old door holes, sand them down and repaint them so they look nice, and drill a larger hole for the more modern door handles . This would be ideal since our house is very old, these doors all have very odd dimensions, however I’m not sure if that idea will work on our bedroom door. It has a weird block of wood that I’ve never really noticed before, and I’m not sure what that’s all about.

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Cost of modern-izing doors: Unknown! My handyman quoted me a price of $75 per door and then promptly stopped answering my calls. I also don’t know if I need new doors, or if the ones we have can be salvaged so I can’t even make a good estimation of what that would be.

One of my best friends advised me of an app called ThumbTack where you can list the work you need done along with pictures, and handymen will bid to do your work for you! I got some quotes for doing that work but then we had to go to the funeral in NYC so I haven’t followed up on them yet.

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And finally, the furnace and air conditioner. I have a HVAC company coming out today at 3pm to give a quote on a new system through Home Depot’s 24 month 0% interest financing. If the system costs $4,000 this will increase our monthly bills about $175 a month but I have faith that it will make our electric and gas bills so much more affordable. Also, it increases our value of the home because it will be more comfortable and the heat will reach to all the rooms in the house.

Our air conditioner is from the 1980s and our furnace is much older than that and they are both very inefficient!

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*UPDATE*

I originally wrote this post on March 11, 2017 and today is March 21, 2017. The HVAC Company did come out and quoted us $7,100 for both the furnace and the air conditioner. This would have increased our bills $300 a month for 24 months which I was sure we could afford, but my husband talked some sense in to me.

He said that right now everything is perfect, but we should figure our bills on what we could afford if one of us lost our income. That’s a huge factor because with Home Depot 0% financing, the fine print is that if you are ever late on your payment, or if you take longer than the 24 months to pay off your purchase, then you agree to pay your regular interest rate amount retroactively, back to the date of the original purchase! I already knew this of course, but I hadn’t thought so far as to think “What if something happens?”

So long story short, we decided to just go with the furnace for now. The cost of the furnace alone is $3,852 and will get us the Wi-Fi thermostat installed which will also help with the cost of cooling in the summer because we can change the heat and AC from our phones, and also set up schedules with the app.

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Shannon over at financially-blonde.com often asks what our “sacred cow” is. You can only have one, and I think mine is home improvements and/or 0% financing. I know that this will decrease my net worth quite a bit, but having a comfortable sanctuary to come home to is more important to me. And, as long as we always keep that buffer I think the risk we assume when taking on a new loan is minimal.

Finally, here is a repair that we have finally accomplished! Meet our old bathroom sink, Mr. Sink Face.

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Oh, how I hated Mr. Sink Face. I hated it because there was no cabinet space, it was bolted to the wall and sloped downward so everything slid off of it (phones, toothbrushes, soap dispensers). My son, who has Spina Bifida couldn’t lean on the sink to support himself while brushing his teeth and washing his face. It was hugely inconvenient.

When we got our income tax refund my husband and I split it in half to use on each of our “sacred cows”. His is travel, mine is home improvements. We each had $340 that we put in a cash envelope.  I posted the job for the interior doors on Thumb Tack, but we know that didn’t work out. In the meantime, I saw someone on one of those Facebook For Sale groups selling a vanity with attached sink for $75! I quickly jumped on that, talked her down to $70, got my husband and his friend to install everything, and now we have this:

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I am in love.

Do you have a sacred cow? Tell me what yours is in the comment section!

As always, thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Dolores

Blessings Abound

I am an aspiring minimalist and own very few items. I don’t purchase clothes or shoes for myself unless I absolutely love them. I also am very savvy at shopping sales and never pay full price for anything. If I have to pay full price that makes an item 75% less attractive to me!

It’s not unusual for me to go through a purge and start cleaning my closet and home of things I don’t love anymore, and I did that this past weekend.  I donated books that have been sitting around for years to my local library and I have a basket in the dining room where I collect items to be donated which I took to Goodwill.

The great thing about working at the dance studio is I have to pass the library on the way there. I stopped in last Saturday when I made my donation and looked through the personal finance section and saw lots of books that I wanted to read! Unfortunately time didn’t allow for my to actually check one out, but I hope to do so this Thursday or Saturday. Also, the dance studio is located across the street from Goodwill so I can drop off our unwanted items there very easily and regularly.

I think we have all heard the advice to sell unwanted items around the house for help coming up with funds. Since I am a little behind on bills I decided to do just that, and I had some gems around the house that I was having trouble letting go of, but I went ahead and  listed them for sale on my local Facebook Buy Sell Trade page and couldn’t be happier.

blessings-about

I sold 2 pairs of jeans that fit a little too large and just made me kind of sad every time I would attempt to wear them. The colors were adorable and I had shoes that matched perfectly but they were baggy in the thighs and fell down my butt. 😦 They got me $15.

I sold a brand new pair of Nikes that I bought for my daughter for gym class, but she never had gym last year and refuses to wear sneakers (girly girl problems). I got $20 for those.

I sold another pair of Nikes that were a touch too small for me which made me upset because I loved them so much and I wanted them to fit! I even put water bags in the toes and froze them over night in an attempt to stretch them out, but no dice. Those got me $15.

I sold an Ann Cherry waist trainer that I was so sure I wanted over year ago and cost $50 but was way too small on me. I kept it for a while for thinspiration but it was just gathering dust and looking ugly in the closet. I got $20 for that.

So, this is all money now that can go toward catching up on those bills at the end of the month! Great news, right?

I have found that when I bless others, blessings come my way. Read what happens next…

Yesterday I got an email from the dance studio very apologetically asking if I could come in to work this Saturday (it was supposed to be my off weekend). I said, “Absolutely! I have nothing better to do.” There’s $50 more toward bills.

Today I received my paystub and found that my check was $50 more than I anticipated due to being refunded for a payroll error for the last 2 weeks. I still don’t have my new normal paycheck amount, but based on this week’s paystub I’m thinking I might bring home $25 more a week from the changes I made to my health insurance for 2017. Great! I’ll find out for sure next week. In any case, $50 more toward bills this week!

I got home from work today and had a check in the mail from the bank where we originally had the Dodge Dart financed. A refund of $21.55 for loan over payment. This will be $25 more toward bills!

Have you ever found unexpected money once you decided to get serious about your debt? Have you been blessed when you decided to make a donation to charity? I’d love to hear about it!

January 2017 Statement of Net Worth Update

Hello, and welcome to our January 2017 Statement of Net Worth Update. I’m sorry it is so delayed but as I said in my previous post, Christmas and some mighty big insurance changes have knocked us on our butt this month.

First of all, we pay our insurance in full every 6 months so we can take advantage of the 5% discount for doing so. It’s always a bit of a stretch to pull this off, but this month our policy went up $50 from the last statement, then we added the Dart which added $400+ dollars to the policy but then we made sure my son had full coverage on his car which made the policy go up another $350! Great googly moogly! So now we are “behind” again. Being behind means I have to wait for payments to post in order to give the update on our Net Worth.

We did hit over negative 70,000 in Net Worth but I am committed this year to not have any other decreases in our net worth. It is onward and upward from here! I am pretty sure we are done shuffling around assets and taking on new debts… Except for the new doors, I forgot about that. Eh. And new Furnace/AC…. Okay maybe one more decrease. I am terrible! Okay, on to the breakdown!

statement-of-net-worth-january

Assets

Our Home went up in value $96 which I was feeling pretty good about until I looked at our very first Statement of Net Worth and saw it was worth $75,373! It still hasn’t made up that huge $1,452 decrease in value we saw in November! I was wondering if that big decrease was due to the house that sold a couple doors down that I told you guys about in a previous blog, but I looked up the address and found it sold in 3/2015 for $25,000! What a buy! I can’t blame the decrease on that house anymore but in any case, we are still recovering nicely. The landscaper comes back in April and we are planning to plant petunias and break up some huge mums I have in the front of the house. I’m certain the increased curb appeal will amount to an increase in home value.

The HHR is off the books and now belongs to my son. I hope he enjoys it for many years to come.

My 401(k) went up $113 but we should be seeing some huge increases in this account in the coming months! My work has changed from a 2% contribution they just gave with no contribution necessary on my part, to 4% matching. I of course will be contributing 4% now and getting the company’s 4% so I’m excited to see how this grows over the coming months!

Liabilities

3 accounts increased in value this month: The Dart loan, CP Visa, and Navient. Wait, I can explain!

Dart – We refinanced our loan through our local credit union for a .25% interest rate reduction and also to add GAP insurance for $399 since we owe nearly $5,000 more than the car is worth. GAP insurance will cover 100% of the loan in the event that our car is totaled plus give us an additional $1,000 to go toward the purchase of a replacement vehicle. I was happy to add this insurance and I feel much better knowing it’s in place now. We are seeing a $461 increase in this account due to the $399 cost of GAP insurance and because we had no payment due in January. Not the smartest decision I know but I did need that $250 since I was short on paying the bills on the last pay day of the month.

CP Visa – We used this card for Christmas purchases and have been paying it down $100/week so we are only seeing a $118 increase in this account. We have put our cards away and hope to have this account paid in full by August so that we can start using that $100/week toward saving for a down payment on another home.

Navient – Like I said in previous blogs I was keeping an eye on this account to see how much it grows even when I make my minimum Income Based Repayment Plan payment. It only grew $114 this month vs. $161 last month. I called Navient and they advised me that my account accrues about $275 of interest every month. I have listed in my 2017 Goals blog post that I intend to start sending an additional $175/mo on top of my Income Based Repayment Plan amount of $90.61/mo in or around 4/2017. I will keep you posted! I intend to write a blog post in the future detailing each of my Navient student loans, their amounts, and interest rates. The smallest loan is around $1,200 and I know I will be able to knock that one out quickly.  I can’t wait to get started!

So, due to the HHR coming off the books, and adding GAP insurance to the Dart loan we are once again seeing a decrease in net worth. We have to stop getting deeper in the hole! This blog keeps me accountable, and without it I wouldn’t even realize just how much trouble we are in. We now have a negative net worth of $70,620 with a decrease of $3,651 this month.

Coming up in February 2017:

  • An increase in net worth!
  • An increase in 401(k) – D account due to increased contributions

Thank you for reading!

XOXO,

Dolores