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

April 2017 Net Worth Update

It’s time for our Net Worth update for the month of April!

We were finally able to get 100% of our April bills paid on the last day of March, which is our goal. The reason for the delay in releasing our net worth is because I have to wait for the payments to post to our student loan accounts so we can have the updated balances. We have signed up for auto-pay on both of our accounts so that we can save the additional .25% on our interest rate. Every bit helps! My husbands comes out on the 1st of each month and then takes a few days to post, while mine comes out on the 3rd of each month and posts immediately. So our net worth updates will typically be around the 4th of the month or so.

On to the update!

Statement of Net Worth. April

Assets

The decreases in our Dart, Checking, and Savings – Reg account are typical fluctuations. The checking account is a holding place for our spending money, and the Savings – Reg is a holding account for our bill money. Since all the bills were just paid, the Savings – Reg is pretty low at the moment and just beginning to accumulate money for May bills which will be paid on 4/28/2017.

The only decrease that is unexpected is in the Savings – Emergency account. We had to use $800 of our $1,000 emergency fund to take out tree that fell in our yard during a windstorm. There is only a $275 decrease reported because at the end of March we had $525 left over so it went back in the Emergency Fund. At this point any excess remaining after we pay bills will first go toward getting our Emergency Fund back up to $1,000 and then toward a liability account: either CP Visa or Personal Loan which both have an interest rate of 9%. More about that later.

Liabilties

We have some pretty drastic increases in value in our Liabilites accounts which I’m not proud of, the most of it being the CP Visa account. While you only see an increase of $106, this is an increase reported despite this account receiving $400 in payments since our last update. That means we spent about $500 on the credit card this month. We obviously need to put the credit cards away again.

Our Navient account increased by $135 this month, which is a bit more than March and February ($100 and $101 respectively). This account is increasing in value due to my Income Based Repayment Plan payment amount of $90.61 not being enough to offset the interest that accrues each month. We have a goal of sending this account an additional $175 per month, focusing on the account with the lowest balance and highest interest first. I believe we can start doing this in May.

The huge increase in our Home Depot account is due to buying a new furnace under a 0% for 24 months financing plan. The hope here was to save money on our gas bills, but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen because 70 degrees on the new thermostat feels so much colder than 70 degrees on our old thermostat, so the heat has been turned up to 74 at times. We have been working out the kinks of getting on a schedule where we have the heat turn down to 62 degrees when we aren’t home and when we are sleeping, but the kids were on spring break and my husband was on vacation this week so there was a whole lot of turning the heat up going on. We will see how it goes, though.

Our Capital One increase is due to fluctuations in regular monthly bills that are put on autopay, and is currently carrying a balance of $1,609.53 toward the 0% balance transfer for the HHR we transferred to our son.

Overall, we have a decrease in net worth of $3,354 which is to be expected due to adding the debt for our new furnace. Our net worth is now (70,724) which is just a bit lower than our all time low in January 2017 of (70,620).

Coming up….

We had planned to do a 0% balance transfer this month for the Personal Loan but I haven’t received an offer from Capital One to do so yet, so I’m just waiting for that invitation. Funny they seem to come every other month but once I am counting on using one, it’s nowhere to be found! Once we receive one we will move forward with transferring that balance.

All about our furnace replacement – and an extra repair that needs to be done which was found at the time of installation!

Medical bill negotiation – Compassionate Care Success!

Student Loan Breakdown – Look for an upcoming blog post displaying the balances of each of my 11(!) student loan accounts and the plan of attack.

As always, thanks for reading and talk again soon.

XOXO

Dolores

An Emergency for Our Emergency Fund

 

It took us quite a bit of time to come up with our $1,000 emergency fund. Once we had it, it felt like the act of having an emergency fund guarded us against emergencies happening. Murphy’s Law, amirite? Meaning, if we didn’t have money set aside that would be when an emergency would pop up!

On March 8, 2017 Southern Michigan had a wind storm with wind gusts in excess of 60 mph. I came home from work and found this!

Fallen Tree

We were incredibly lucky, because those high winds brought cold air and resulted in numerous power outages that took days to be restored. That is not good news when temperatures were in the teens and twenties. Not only that, but this tree could have done so much damage: to our house, our next door neighbor’s house or their shed, our garage, deck, fence, or either of the garages for the neighbors in the back. Instead, it was caught by another tree! So lucky!

Unfortunately that luck meant that this tree was not able to be claimed under our home insurance policy since it didn’t do any damage to any of the various structures surrounding it. So, it was all on us.

I started calling tree service companies right away, but there was so much storm damage that all of them were really busy! Most didn’t answer the phone, a couple others bid $900 to take this tree down for me, and one company said $500 to remove everything!

And then the owner ignored my calls and texts.

I went with another company that a coworker recommended. He bid $850 but when I said I would think about it, he texted me back and said he would do it all for $800.

I’m really happy to see this tree go, because for one, it was really ugly. There was about 20 feet of tree trunk before the pine branches showed. It dropped really ugly skinny curved pine cones. If it dropped those fat majestic ones we could slather with Elmer’s Glue and glitter we would have had Christmas ornaments for years! I would have loved it! But all we had was ugly wormy looking ones. Also, I couldn’t get grass to grow due to the constant layer of pine needles and shade.

Now we begin the process of rebuilding the Emergency Fund. I felt like we had it for a long time, but when I asked the bank teller he advised that we opened the account in the beginning of October (right around when I started tracking my net worth with you guys)! Let’s hope we have a better streak in the future.

Blindsided by Medical Bills

The medical bills for my husband’s therapeutic phlebotomy started rolling in. I did not expect each visit to be $720 a pop! Insurance reduced the $720 charge to about $600, and then we needed to meet our $1,000 deductible. These blood draws started in December and continued weekly for about 5 weeks. Into the New Year, and into a whole new $1,000 deductible. I could throw up, guys. So far we have about $1,800 in medical bills! We are expecting another $1,350 in bills to come in soon, too for a sleep study and a CT Scan.

My husband is healthy which is the most important thing, they just don’t know why he has elevated red blood cells. All the tests have come back normal!

Luckily, we have our emergency fund of $1,000 and the Savings – Tax CD that I set aside to pay our tax bill, which we won’t need since we got a refund this year. So theoretically we can cover the expense, but it will set us so far back!

Fortunately for me, I heard an amazing podcast by Shannon Lally-Mclay over at Financialy-Blonde.com in which she interviewed Pat Palmer. The episode is called Medical Billing Questions Answered. Using the advice from this show, I learned some actionable steps to work out an arrangement with this bill.

  • Request an itemized bill to look for billing errors
    1. This didn’t help me much. There was hope originally because each of my bills that were originally $720 had a charge of $628 that was listed as “other charges”. ‘Great!’ I thought. ‘Let them explain that!’ The itemized bills came, and the $628 changed from “other” to Therapeutic Phlebotomy. Boo.
  • My second plan was to negotiate a reduction in the bill BUT, I found that my particular hospital has a program called Compassionate Care in which you submit your financial information and if approved, 70-100% of your bills will be forgiven. That will be a God send!

I submitted the application a few weeks ago and we are waiting to hear back regarding it. Now that I know the hospital is willing to forgive up to 100% for charity, I feel much better negotiating our balances!

What Now?

Here are some more steps as I interpreted them:

  1. Ask for a payment plan on the negotiated amount. Medical bills are a 0% interest payment plan! We will not bust the budget if we don’t have to! It doesn’t cost anything to stretch the payments out as long as possible and make it easier on ourselves. However….
  2. We can request a further discount for prompt payment in CASH. Like, today. Right now. I will bring you $500 to make this go away. That’s what the good ol’ Emergency Fund is for! Also, always make sure your negotiation is in writing.
  3. If we cannot get a further discount for prompt payment in cash, we will use our Flex Spending Account to make the payments. If we don’t have enough on my Flex Spending Account to make the monthly payments, I’ll make post tax contributions which we can claim on our Income Tax at the end of the year regardless if we itemize or not. This could mean a further discount of however much our income tax rate is for the year.

Wish me luck in battling these medical bills! Thanks for reading.

 

XOXO
Dolores

February 2017 Net Worth Update

Welcome to our February 2017 Net Worth Update! We are getting closer and closer to having 100% of the bills paid on the last pay day of the month.

statement-of-net-worth-february

As promised, we are seeing an increase in net worth this month! We had some surprise medical bills come up. A LOT of medical bills, so I’ll be making a post about how we plan to deal with that in the next few days. I suppose at that time I’ll have to add those bills to the Statement of Net Worth if we decide to make a payment arrangement on them. If not, we may do a combination of our Tax CD and Emergency Fund to pay them off. But, I digress! On to the breakdown.

Assets

The house, man! I have been entering numbers in Excel since I started paying February’s bills on January 27th. The house has been steadily decreasing in value since then. It started off with $500 decrease and now we are at $984! Darn it!! There really isn’t much I can do about it.

At the time of writing this blog, I’m waiting for our handyman to arrive and take measurements of our doors and give us a verdict on whether he thinks they need to be filled and sanded with a new door hole installed, or completely swapped out. I have $350 cash to pay him for the job and I think it’s going to cost about $250 plus the cost of one new door. I think the bathroom door is beyond repair. Note to Self: Claustrophobic dogs are no less claustrophobic when enclosed in a bathroom rather than a kennel. Since we will have about $100 left in the Handyman Labor budget, I think I’m going to ask him to install a new dishwasher because ours has been broken a long time, and it would just make my life so much easier! Some other things I considered asking for repair with this $100:

  • Bathroom vanity and faucet – you guys know how much I hate my bathroom sink. Oh you don’t? Perhaps I should show you sometime. That would be a fun blog post. Small Scale Renovation Goals!
  • New kitchen sink with garbage disposal – Oooh how I long for a garbage disposal. Plus my drains in the kitchen sink are shot. One side of the sink is not functional at all, and the other side ate the drain guard thingy. It’s stuck in there now and broken. #oldhouseproblems My ideal sink would be a 60/40 double sink or maybe even 70/30 if those exist.

Moving on…

The Dodge Dart also went down quite a bit. I’m trying to keep track of what I’m entering in to Kelly Blue Book so I can be sure to get an accurate depreciation each time so I can be sure these fluctuations are actual increases and decreases in value and not just me mistakenly entering in the wrong model and wrong mileage.

Savings is a little higher in recent months than it typically would be when I show our Statement of Net Worth because I have been needing to wait later in the month to make our credit card payment, so you’re seeing the savings we are building up for the next month’s bills.

Our Emergency Fund and our Savings – Tax CD might be leaving soon due to the medical bills I discussed earlier. I have a plan of attack for those, though. Will write more about that in a later blog.

Due to the decrease in our home’s value and the Dodge Dart, our assets decreased in value this month $654. Darn. It. All. But on the good side, other increases in assets offset the loss so that’s a bonus.

Liabilities

This month, only one account went up in value and that’s the Navient account which is to be expected. I know I mentioned that I would start sending extra to this account soon, but until I know 100% what’s going on with the medical bills I’m just not sure what I can do with this.

All in all I think our medical bills before fighting and negotiating are going to be more than $2,500. Scary stuff!! But the love of my life is healthy and that’s what matters most.

So all in all we have an INCREASE in Net Worth (just like I promised) of $1,167!! This is by far the largest increase we have seen in our journey and is much more typical of what we can do every month when we aren’t buying new cars and giving vehicles to our children 🙂

Thank you guys so much for reading and keeping me accountable!

Coming up in March 2017:

  • Stupid, stupid medical bill post. Booo….
  • An Increase in the Liability Account – Home Depot for the purchase of a new interior door and dishwasher on special 0% interest financing

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!