Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Surveys, revisited

I have posted in the past about the sites I use to make money through surveys. About a year ago, it was actually affording me a nice little consistent flow of spending money. Like anything else though, it soon took a backseat to, well, life.... The kids, school, medical stuff, etc, etc.

This past week I decided I was going to start doing it again, and have since been faithfully checking the email I'd set up for that purpose, and doing my surveys while I watch TV at night. To my pleasant surprise I found on checking my sites that I have over $40 ready to be cashed in right now, and have already added to it significantly. Hurray for free money! As a bonus, I'd forgotten how much fun I have doing it.

These are the sites I've made money with this week:

Say Nation

Quick Rewards

Treasure Trooper

Inbox Dollars

This is just a very partial list, as I'm still just dipping my toes back in the survey waters.  Visit my survey site for the entire list of sites I use.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Budgets and New Plans

For someone who's not especially fond of numbers (I am, and forever will be, a word girl), I get a lot of pleasure out of making budgets. I like setting them up, changing things around, playing with different scenarios, and calculating the numbers again and again and again.

I recently read these guidelines for setting up the ideal household budget, recommended by the experts such as Dave Ramsey and Suze Ormen:

       Housing - 40% (include your mortgage or rent payment, insurance, water, gas, electric)

       Credit Cards, School Loans, etc - 10%

       Car - 15% (include car payment, gas, insurance, repairs)

       Savings - 1 to 5%

       Food - 15%

       Entertainment - 10% (cable, cell phones, Netflix accounts, etc)

       Misc - 5%

I plugged in our own numbers, fully expecting to see one or more areas where we needed some adjustments.  To my (happy) surprise though, everything fit neatly into its recommended allotment.  We're doing something right!

Looking at the budget inspired me to once again make a list of financial goals, complete with a loose time table.  I like making lists even more than I like making budgets.   There are certainly smaller goals along the way, but these are the big goals, in order, that make up our plan for the next five years.
  1. Pay off the rest of the credit cards
  2. Pay off my Sequoia
  3. Pay off the second mortgage
  4. Save up for a good down payment on a new house (which we can do quickly by rolling the payments we'd been making on the credit cards, car, and mortgage into a savings account)
  5. Sell this house and buy another, with NO debt other than the new mortgage, which we will of course:
  6. Immediately start paying extra payments on, to pay off in a short amount of time
I like it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

June Numbers... onward and upward

This past week was Mike's first paycheck with his new salary.  While a big portion of the extra money was already spoken for, as we still had to get some i's dotted and t's crossed, our total debt did come down.  And any reduction after the past few months is a very good thing indeed.

Total debt for June:

Down by 489.15