About marymargaretripley

I am a professional Bakery Manager at a privately owned grocery store. I also owned my own bakery for over four years. I have been baking for 15+ years professionally. I also teach canning and preserving classes and have been gardening since I was 5 years old. I live in Western, NY with my husband, teenage son, Bernie the Cat and Muffins the Hamster.

Not Impressed With Our Debt – Week 38 of 80 -Who’s Paying the Bills?

Who pays the bills in your household? For us it’s obviously me since I am blogging about it but recently I have had a few conversations with people about their bill paying practices.

One point from these conversations has been coming up more frequently. That point is are both you and your spouse or significant other named on your household bills? In other words, does the Cable bill come with your name and your mate’s name, or just one of your names?

This could be a big problem if it is just one of you. If something happens to the person solely named on the bill and the other person is not on it, making changes to that account can be slow and excruciating.

Example: I had a client tell me she paid the bills in her house but her husband always took care of the cell phones. He went out and got them new cell phones a few months ago and of course the bill was in his name even though he didn’t pay the bills but he was the one who opened the account. Her husband unfortunately died and now the cell phone company will not help her remove one of the phones from the account because her name is not on the bill. “He’s dead” she told them!ย  They told her in order to change anything she has to prove he is deceased by sending them an original death certificate (which costs money). If both of their names had been on the account there would not be a problem. In talking with her she said it never crossed their minds to do anything differently.

That happens a lot. I made my husband put me on his credit card account so I could talk to them about an issue we were having. My husband opened the account but never thought to add my name. I love him but he is terrible with knowing what to say to these people over the phone so when we had a problem he would call and then tell them please talk to my wife and he would hand the phone to me. Adding me meant I could just talk to them myself without having to bother him at work.

Another example I heard about recently from another client was her husband had some dementia problems and he had had two internet routers installed and they were paying for two internet services! They obviously only needed one service but when she tried to cancel one they would not let her or even talk to her since she was not on the account. I asked her why she wasn’t on the account since she paid the bills for the household and again the answer was it just wasn’t something they had ever thought about.

After these discussions with others and from my own experience I am making it a priority to look at every one our bills to make sure that the correct name and both names are on them. Believe it or not I have two bills that still have my first married name on them because I have been too lazy to change them. I have been married almost nine years to my second husband! I just haven’t wanted to send a copy of our marriage papers in to change my name. Silly right?

Now I don’t want you to think this is just something that the older population has to deal with as they age and pass away. Making sure your bills have the proper names on them is critical at any age. God forbid you’re a 28 year old father of two and something devastating happens to their mother, your wife, when she gives birth to your third child and you don’t have Power of Attorney for her affairs and all of the bills are in her name…see what I mean? You just never know.

There are so many things to think about when it comes to being responsible with our money. Every day we need to work at it. What can we improve? What will make our experience easier? These are all questions we have to ask ourselves.

Next week I will check in with my end of month results! See you next week! -MM

 

 

 

SAL-#5 Crown of Thorns

Good Morning from sunny New York! What a beautiful day it is going to be. Before I go out and dig in my garden all day I thought I better update you all on my progress with Crown of Thorns. Here is where I ended three weeks ago:

And here is where I am now:

I am feeling good with the progress I made this time.

I am part of a Stitch-a-long group that reports our progress every three weeks to each other. We are from all over the world. If you would like to join our group please contact the fabulous Avis. Her link is the first link in the group below. Please visit the other members blogs to see what they are up to!

See you in another 3 weeks! -MM

Not Impressed with our Debt – Week 35 of 80

It’s been a stressful month in lots of ways but being at week 35 of our 80 week debt paying challenge, I expected it.

We are to the point in our debt payoff that each week we get closer to blowing this thing wide open but it’s a delicate balance as well.

Two weeks ago I overdrew the checking account. I should have done things a little different that week and not pushed so hard. I lost $40 of our hard earned money which sucked but I had to move on from the massive guilt I felt over it. Feeling guilty is not productive. I am a grown woman and I constantly am pushing the envelope with this. I take full responsibility.

Unfortunately I did not get the home equity paid off this month like I wanted but I did pretty good! At the beginning of March it was just under $1900. Right now that balance, without closing fees, is $900! Almost there!

My husband’s car was in need of a pretty major repair that cost $500 today. He was nervous even driving it very far. Although I was bummed because I knew that meant I couldn’t finish paying off the loan, it did make me feel good knowing we could pay for that repair in cash and not use the credit card. Huge progress for us!

At my last results update in mid February our debt was $27,011. As of today our debt is $25,421.

I am happy to report since August, which is 8 months, we have paid off $10,500 in total debt. Yippee!

We will see what April brings us. I will check in again in a few weeks.

How are you doing on your debt paying journey? -MM

Not Impressed with our Debt – Week #33 of 80 – Paying off the Home Equity Status

I am determined to pay off our Home Equity this month. We only had $1900 left to pay on it and this week our Federal Tax refund came in so I pay $543 right to the principal of the loan. Right now the balance is about $1346.

Keep in mind that figure is not actually the payoff amount. When I made that payment I asked the teller for a loan payoff amount through the 31st of March. The actual payoff figure is around $1400.

So why is the payoff figure more than what is says I owe when I look at my account on-line.m? It’s more for a couple of reasons. One, because the interest is not fully figured in there and two, the bank charges a fee to file your mortgage discharge with your County Clerk.

Let me back up to when you sign for a new mortgage or home equity loan. When you buy a new house or apply for a home equity on your existing home, your mortgage is recorded in the county clerk’s office where you live. It shows up on your property’s history report which they call your Abstract. When you pay off your mortgage or home equity the bank is supposed to file a discharge of mortgage with the county clerk that you have paid the loan in full thereby your mortgage has been satisfied.

When you go to sell your home later, your Abstract should show the bank has filed the discharge of mortgage. If they fail to do that, that can be a real problem. Many times your original mortgage, if it was a 30 year mortgage may have been assumed by another bank more than once. Many old banks have closed and new banks have assumed the mortgages from those banks. This may be the reason a discharge was never filed.

When you pay off any mortgage or home equity, follow up with your mortgage company to make sure they indeed filed a discharge. It will save you time and money later on and a whole lot of aggravation.

I hope to get another good chunk of that loan paid off this week. I’ll check in with you again next week! -MM

SAL #4 Crown of Thorns

It’s been three weeks since our last update and I have made some progress on this project.

Here is where I left off last time:

And here is where I am now:

I am starting the crown but I have to tell you the monochromatic pallet is starting to get to me. I am pushing forward though!

Please visit the other blogs in the SAL to see what they are up to. You won’t be dissapointed!

See you in three weeks ๐Ÿ™‚

Transplanting Seedlings

Today I started the transplant process for the tomato babies!

The key for seedlings in my experience is not to put them in direct light as soon as they emerge from the soil. Instead put them under a florescent light then they don’t get leggy. I just use a plain old florescent tube light but if you can afford the fancy grow lights go for it!

These tomato seedlings have been up for about 3 weeks and they are ready for transplant because their second set of leaves are forming. I am trying to do all of this on the cheap so I came up with using the cardboard boxes that I have access to instead of using expensive peat pots to transplant the seedlings into.

I cut the box so it is about 3 inches deep and for drainage, I cut holes in the bottom of the box. Make sure to wet the soil thoroughly ahead of time to prevent dry pockets. I used my kitchen sink sprayer to moisten the soil in a large bowl.

After spreading part of the soil in the bottom of the box I started to loosen the seedlings from their cramped container. Yes, I re-purposed sour cream and cool whip containers (don’t judge lol).

When separating the plants take care not to break their necks. Only lift the plants by the leaves and not the stem. If you break a leaf it’s not a big deal but if you break its neck, the plant is a goner. Loosen the soil at the base of each plant with a spoon or even your fingers and very gently guide the plant and root out by the leaf.

I placed the seedling in a pre-formed hole in the soil and then back filled the soil burying it right up to its neck. That’s right… bury the stem because it will create a stronger plant and along that buried stem roots will form. Be sure to pat the seedling in firmly so no air pockets form under the soil and there is good root to soil contact.

Water well. I use a squeeze bottle so I don’t hit the plants and knock them over with too much force. Now you can put them in a sunny window and water when the soil seems to need it, every 3 or 4 days.

Watch them grow super fast now. I always say a tomato plant has taken root and is growing strong when the stem starts to turn light purple. You’ll see.

These tomato plants are Cherokee Purple Tomatoes, an heirloom and there are 48 of them. I definitely don’t need 48 so when the time is right I’ll be giving some away.

See you in a few weeks for an update. ๐Ÿ™‚ -MM

Not Impressed With Our Debt – Weeks 28-30 of 80- Home Equity Loan

Home Equity Loans can be wonderful things if you are doing a major project on your home, like renovating your kitchen. A new kitchen adds value to your home but unfortunately when you take out a home equity loan just to consolidate debt you don’t have a pretty new kitchen to show for it.

We took out a home equity in 2014 for $17,000. It is due to be paid off in August of this year. I don’t want to wait that long though. I want it gone, and I want it gone NOW. We owe just under $1900 on it. I am paying that sucker off next month. Seriously. I mean it. I don’t care if we have to eat peanut butter and macaroni all month, that home equity will be history by March 31st.

I have a plan. It may not be popular with my family or the financial experts but sometimes you just gotta take a leap of Faith. For me it’s all about cash flow. Paying this loan off now will not save us much on interest but that’s not the point. Paying it off will free up $328.00 a month and that burden that has kept our hearts and minds hostage for the past 5 years will be gone. Paying off the Old Navy freed up $300 a month and saved us thousands in interest a year.

I also realized after looking at our cell bill that we were paying $26 a month just for protection for two cell phones. Oh yeah…you bet I canceled that real quick! Scott’s cell phone was just paid off this month and it’s 2 years old so if he drops it in the toilet we’ll just get another one. The payment for that phone was $30 a month. Hey, now look at that, we just had our bill go from $297/mo to $239/mo. Every little bit helps!

I had a feeling all last year and I continue to have it this year, the feeling I should pay off any loans that are attached to our house asap. I don’t know if it is the political climate or what but I am listening to that feeling. I paid off the home equity line of credit with a no interest credit card and now I want the regular home equity gone too.

Say Geronimo my friends! I’ll check back in soon. Hope your debt is shrinking too! -MM