Cowgar Family Adventures

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Financial Goals for 2010

We know we have accumulated way too much debt over the past couple years (a few kids, a miscarriage, buying a car, and having a money pit for a house doesn't help). I am tired of the stress it causes me (I stress about everything), and it's getting to the point in life where we need to get our stuff together because Lexi and Lilly are getting to an age where they will remember things that happen, and I don't want them to remember a bunch of negatives in life. We are going to loosely follow Dave Ramsey with our debt snowball. We also need to make our credit look as good as possible, because our land loan will require a balloon payoff next in April 2011 (It was supposed to be a loan that wraps into a construction loan to avoid that balloon). We will have to find a way to get a loan to take over that loan so we can keep our land (where we will build one day), so we can't mess up our finances this year! Here is our credit card debt list in the order we would like to pay them off. (I am doing a combination of small balances first and higher interest rates first)

Debt as of December 31, 2009
$602.52 FirstMerit 11ish%
$808.74 Circuit City/Best Buy Chase 0% until Nov 2010
$4,323.59 Luke's Bank of America 16ish%
$4,192.29 Holly's Bank of America .99% until June 2010, then 10ish%?
$3,912.64 Luke's Discover
$7,415.67 Luke's Chase
$21,255.45 Total Credit Card Debt End 2009

The First Merit card will be paid off with e-Bay proceeds from camera gear Luke is going to sell. He is putting them on auction starting the 7th, so hopefully by the end of the month that balance will be gone, but that card will be kept live since that is our overdraft protection card from the bank.

The Circuit City turned Best Buy card is the remaining balance on Luke's a700 camera. It is 0% until November, but since it's such a small balance compared to the other cards, it is next to go. I hope that a bit of extra from the e-Bay sales, combined with craigslist selling, babysitting money, and some odd job money will get that card taken care off by the end of March. That card will then be canceled, because we don't need a Best Buy card.

We aren't sure what our total federal tax refund will be this year. I had Luke up his allowances to they took out less, then that Obama tax thing took out even less than what we were claiming, but we had a baby as well, and I'm pretty sure we are considered dirt poor now by the government, so we will get at least what was put in, even after claiming Chris' rental income. Dave Ramsey suggests a $1000 starter emergency fund, but we never made our shuttle vacation last year, and this year NASA is planning on retiring the current shuttles, so here is my plan.

Put $500 into savings for the emergency fund. Give up hope on getting tickets to the NASA Causeway to be as close as possible to the shuttle for launch, since the tickets are in such high demand this year, we will be lucky to even get them. We also won't be tied to a specific launch that may get delayed again and again, since tickets are good for the launch mission, and not the date. Plan trip as cheapily as possible for a possible Florida shuttle launch vacation, seeing the launch from Titusville or Cocoa Beach, and renting a BIG A** lens for Luke's camera. Hopefully we get enough back in taxes to cover the trip in full, but this is one thing we have both agreed that we can charge, because we are space buffs and this is our last chance for this to happen. I haven't come up with an as cheap as possible scenario yet, but I am going to start working on it.

Anything that may be left over in taxes will hit his Bank of America card next. It's not the next lowest balance, but it's the highest interest rate card we have, and I want it gone. I am planning on pulling both of our credit reports soon, and I am going to pick some credit cards that we can close and cancel as we pay off. Not sure if this one will stay open or not, but I will detail that after looking over the credit reports.

Any extra money coming in from the photography will hopefully get split between Uncle Sam, the business, and debt. Any extra money from babysitting, odd jobs, and selling our stuff will mostly go to debt. If it's an odd job Luke did, he will get a portion of that money to put towards camera stuff for the business. It will help keep him motivated to sell things.

All of this while trying to find money to put towards the house will be a nice challenge (the budget allows $50/month for house fixing). I'll have to post a finalized budget, but I think I may hold off until the beginning of February, after these e-Bay auctions and whatnot.

Good Luck to us!

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