SAL 7- Crown of Thorns

What a gorgeous weekend it has been for us here in Upstate NY! Sunny and even warm today is the forecast. Before I run outside and play in my garden here is my three week SAL update.

Three weeks ago I left off with almost having the bottom finished:

After three weeks here is how far I have come:

I have finished the entire bottom half though it is hard to see with the wrinkle mark from the hoop. I got quite a bit done on the thorns!

I hope to finish this project in the next two updates. Although it’s been an amazing piece to work on my eyes definitely need a break.

Please visit the other members of this fun and extremely creative SAL group. If you are interested in joining us please contact Avis who is at the head of the list of Blogs.

See you again in June! -MM

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Not Impressed with our Debt – Week 39 of 80 – April 2019 Results

April was catch up month for us so as expected the results are not spectacular.

We started off the month with $25,421 and as of today we are at $24,750. That’s down $671 which is the lowest I think I have had so far. But hey, it’s still forward progress right?!

I was only able to make a regular payment to the home equity this month so that debt went from $900 to $578. In the month of May baring anything unforeseen we should be doing our happy dance for paying it off! Fingers and toes crossed.

Even though April was less that productive in my mind I did realize something very exciting which will keep us motivated and moving forward in getting our debt gone for good.

I really started all of this paying off debt stuff in August of 2014. Our starting point was a whopping $143,775.35. Totally embarrassing right? Keep in mind that part of all of that is our mortgage but only about $50,000. That means over $90,000 was pure car, credit card, and home equity loans. Yikes right?

But here’s the cool thing, in less than 5 years, we have paid off an astonishing $71,300! Our total debt right now including house, car, credit cards, and loans is down to $72,475.

I couldn’t believe it when I tallied it. I have kept a white board since 2014, diligently marking down our progress every week and month for each debt when have. Cars have come and gone and credit cards have been paid off one by one.

My husband and I are pretty proud of what we have accomplished. It makes it worth the hard work we put into it. Hopefully some day we can pay for a vacation by swiping our debit card and not our credit card right?

We will see what May brings! See you next update. -MM

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!  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

Eight Steps to a Beautiful White, Blueberry Filled, Cream Cheese Frosted, Drip Cake

A couple of months ago I popped an unfrosted cake into the freezer to use for later and forgot about it. I came across it while I was looking for something else in the freezer and thought I would bring it out to have it as dessert last night.

Cream cheese frosting sounded better than butter cream this time and I had blueberries in the freezer that I could thicken and use as a filling. Perfect!

With all the ingredients on hand I formed a plan in my mind and set to work making a blueberry filled, cream cheese frosted white cake. Yum right?

Step 1, I used a 6″ baked cake, excess cake sliced off to create a flat surface. I created a frosting “dam” to prevent the filling from oozing out.

Step 2 fill it! I thicken 1 cup of frozen blueberries with about 2 Tablespoons of flour and about 3 Tablespoons of sugar (or to taste). Microwaved it for about 2 minutes then stirred, then another 2 minutes until it thickened. Then I cooled it before using it on top of the cake reserving about half of the thickened blueberries for the blueberry drip.

Step 3 place the second layer on top with the bottom of the cake facing up.

Step 4 crumb coat. It really helps to do a crumb coat to seal in all the crumbs. After frosting with the crumb coat pop it in the fridge to harden up for about 15 minutes (go stick a load of laundry in while you are waiting 😉 ).

Step 5 final coat of frosting.

Step 6 Blueberry drip. Using the leftover blueberry mixture dump it all right in the middle of the frosted top layer then carefully spread the blueberries towards the edges being careful not to just slop it over the sides. It should delicately drip down the sides.

Step 7 using a large star tip gently pipe pretty peaks onto the blueberries. (You can never have too much frosting right?)

Step 8 slice and enjoy!!

I hope you enjoyed this fun little step by step on decorating. Hopefully this gives you some ideas! Happy decorating 🙂 -MM