Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Hangover

We are now in Christmas Hangover mode. We are so glad the holidays are over. Whoever invented this holiday needs to be fired. I wrote last year that I hate it and this year wasn't any better. My Citi card balance is up by $2,000 for buying all kinds of crap. Wife's Macy's card is up to $280. Our checking account is drained. Next pay day is in 2012.









I'm not even going to post all the crap we got (way too much) but let's just say next year we plan to be in Hawaii. This week we are in recovery mode. I'm trying to figure out a way to survive until we get paid and also come up with a plan to pay down some of this holiday debt. Really?! Did we really spend over $2,500 dollars on people we love and added another $1,600 on a new fridge? Really!?!

Bah! Humbug!

HS

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone. I will celebrating with my family on Christmas eve and hanging out with the wife's family on Christmas day. To all my blog friends and readers, I want to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year! To all those paying down debts, hey we have all of next year to make progress :)












I'll leave you with a little Zac Brown:

It's funny how it's the little things in life
that mean the most
Not where you live, what you drive,
or the price tag on your clothes
There`s no dollar sign on a piece of mind
this I've come to know
So if you agree have a drink with me
Raise you glasses for a toast

Cheers!

HS

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Welcome Back Best Buy

Below is the damage for the new refrigerator. I know some of you said fix the compressor, look on Craigslist or buy something cheaper but I think we got a decent deal at Best Buy so I had to add new debt. I also didn't want to stress about having something else go out on the old fridge or disposing of it if we got somthing used. Best Buy will come in, remove the old fridge and set up the new one for free (Fry's was $100).







The plan is to get rid of this debt as soon as possible. I think I'm going to freeze our Citi card for the next few weeks and pay off this new Best Buy balance in January. It will be hard but January should be a quiet month with no major expenses or birthdays. I will make minimum payments to Citi and Discover and send any extra money to Best Buy.

On a positive note, I made another payment to Discover and the new balance on that card is $1,800. Hopefully I can get rid of that card in February.

HS

Monday, December 19, 2011

The New Refrigerator

After a weekend of searching and looking for a new refrigerator we finally found our match at Best Buy. We decided to give General Electric a try and went with this model:

















We actually found this model at Fry's Electronics for $1,500 but they didn't have any in stock. We also found a Maytag we liked but it was also out of stock. Then we saw an LG that had all the features we liked, what do you know? also out of stock at Fry's. We were really frustrated and left. We looked at Best Buy, Sears, Lowe's, Home Depot, but last night we decided to give Best Buy another try. When we went back we noticed they had the GE model we liked at Fry's for $1,999.99. I asked the sales associate if they would match the Fry's price of $1,500 and she said she would ask the manager. She came back and said manager approved so we decided to buy it.

The delivery and removal of the old fridge is FREE at Best Buy. I also got an extra 5% off by using my Best Buy credit and 18 months financing with no interest. In all we spent a little bit over $1,600 but got the model and features we wanted. A refrigerator is the one appliance you really interact and use every day so we decided to get something we liked. The one feature I wanted was the ice and water dispenser on the door. The wife didn't care too much about features but she did want to try stainless steel and french doors.

The new refrigerator will be delivered in a couple of days. We added some new debt but we will try to pay this off in January so we can focus on Discover.

Wish us luck with this new fridge, hopefully it will last longer than our Samsung.

HS

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tis’ The Season For a New Fridge

I came home a couple of nights ago and noticed the refrigerator was not cooling. I opened the freezer and everything was thawing. Our refrigerator just stopped working. We have this Samsung model below:


















Never never ever buy anything Samsung! The stuff looks nice but anything I've ever owned from Samsung has died on me. This refrigerator was a gift when we bought the house so we didn't really have a choice. It is only FIVE years old. I called a tech to come look at it and the compressor is dead. I could repair the compressor for $800 dollars but my common sense say why not just buy a new one?

Is this an emergency? Should I dip in to my emergency fund and avoid adding more debt? I think right now I don't mind adding a bit of debt. I don't really see this as a major emergency so for now I think I will put the new refrigerator on my Best Buy credit card.

The issue now is the only refrigerator we like is $2,200 dollars! I really don't want to finance that much so at this point we're not really sure what to do. All I know is I'm tired of eating out so I need to do something soon.

The other issue is what I'm I going to do with the current refrigerator in the kitchen. I know some of the parts are worth some money but without a compressor a refrigerator is basically worthless.

Now someone please tell my why the Kenmore refrigerator we bought in 1991 still runs without any problems? The refrigerator is at our beach cabin and I swear it works way better than this Samsung POS we owned.

HS





Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spending and More Spending

We continue to spend way too much money and more than we make. This is still an area where we struggle and to this day I'm not sure how to control it. Below you can see the date when I got my last Citi statement and how much money we've charged since then. Keep in mind we did most of our holiday shopping the week before Thanksgiving so I'm sitting here wondering where all this spending is coming from:


















Over the course the last couple of weeks or so, we've charged $1,100 dollars. As you can see the balance this morning is $6,633.

Where is all this spending coming from? Things like eating out and shopping. I'm also putting gas and groceries on the credit card. I've never been good with budgets and the wife wants nothing to do with the money planning. She's happy with her Citi and Macy's cards so it makes it a bit harder for me to budget and plan.

New Year's resolution for 2012: Create a Budget!

HS

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thank You Citi







As much as I dislike interest charged to our Citi balance every month I do have a way of getting some of that money back from them using the Thank You network. I added up all the interest for 2011 and it came out around $600. I went to the Thank You network and added up all the gift cards we've redeemed in 2011 and they added up to $510 dollars!
















I'm not sure how we get so many points but I do know that our Citi Forward credit card gives 5 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent on purchases at restaurants (including fast food), bookstores, music stores, video rental stores and movie theaters and 1 ThankYou Point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Credit card rewards are good but at the same time I think this is also one of the reasons we continue to have debt. When I'm eating out I usually charge the purchase just to get the extra points. I have the cash in the bank but I tend to forget to send that money back to Citi.

Also look at this post from 2010 when I redeemed close to $1,000 in rewards from Citi: http://www.ourdebtblog.com/2010/03/citi-thank-you-rewards.html

HS

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Momentum Continues

I am eight days late but I met my goal to bring down our Discover card under $2,000. I can only say the momentum to pay down our debt continues. I would like to have this balance paid off by the end of the year but it all depends on the holidays. I think we're going to get a lot of cash from family and I'm hoping my wife gets a lot of gift cards from her students. Last year one parent even surprised us with a $100 gift card to Walmart for the holidays.

Here is the proof, finally under $2,000:









I still can't believe just a few months ago this card was at $4,600 and we had other debt. Remember this post: http://www.ourdebtblog.com/2011/07/our-debt-in-perspective.html I hope we don't find ourselves with that much debt any time soon.

Our other outstanding credit card, Citi Forward has a balance of $6,600 right now. I made some payments to it to cover the holiday spending but I need to watch what I put on there. I will continue to send payments to it but after I pay off this Discover account, I will focus all my energy on Citi.

HS

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Homeowners Association Fees

It's that time of the year again. I think I write this post every year and complain about our HOA. This year is more special since our Homeowners Association people decided to increase the fee. You see that money below in our Accounts Payable? It is just sitting there waiting to be collected by our HOA:









That's correct, it is $920 dollars. I know this is something most people pay but since I have a blog I get to complain about it here. I don't really use most of the services they provide but just for fun I'll list them here to remind me where all this money goes:

Amenities
1: Gated Community with 24/7 Guard
2: Club House
3: Thre Children’s Parks
4: Contracted Police Patrol
5: Community Swimming Pools
6: Fitness Room
7: Walking Trails
8:  Basketball Courts
9: Tennis Courts
10: Volleyball Court

How much are your HOA'S? I know many people that pay way more so maybe I need to smile and not complain. ;)

HS