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I am encouraged by the progress made last night in our ‘company meeting’, as my wife described in her previous post.  Another occasional post that I would like to make part of our repertoire would be the FTR or Financial Transparency Report.  Every month, I would like to publish the status of our debts, projected income, and analysis of our previous month for you to see.  (Adam Baker: thanks man, you’ve emboldened us!)  More on our finances after the break! 

Below is a summary of our November finances:

Current Debts

Consumer – $3,242.29

Student Loan – $109,135.36 (+some more in process of being consolidated

Personal Loan – $257.74

TOTAL DEBT: $112,635.39 (perhaps closer to $162k after the consolidation loan is certified)

Actual Net Income (Nov. 2011)
(A side note about this category: These figures are both post-tithe and post-taxes, therefore giving the most accurate figure as it relates to take home pay.)

Seth – $2,601.98

Stacey – $964.69

TOTAL NET INCOME – $3566.67

Projected Income (Dec. 2011)

Seth – $2,680

Stacey – $1,320

TOTAL NET PROJECTED INCOME – $4000

Expected Budget & Expenditures

Budget-Dec2012

Analysis

With Christmas coming, we have set a $400 cash budget for us to spend out of the illustrious “Everything Else” fund.  Last month, we spent close the $970 figure because of several improvements that needed to be made to our rental property in preparation for winter, which cost us $225 by itself.  (More details on our winterizations in a later post!)  Other non-recurring expenses that hit us last month included an expensive celebration we-made-it-and-found-jobs dinner of $175 at a fine restaurant (yes, we’re foodies!) and $400 for our Home Heating Oil (HHO) escrow account.  Between the winterization costs and non-recurring expenses, we spent $800 dollars.

Presently, it costs us around $550 to get 150 gallons of oil, so we have put away approximately that amount in order to defray that expense when it comes.  We last requested a fill of 150 gallons on October 20th, bringing our tank to nearly 3/4 full, and now we presently have 1/3 of a tank and plan to fill up around the middle or end of December.  Consequently, we expect to need one more fill up before the winter is over, which in New England usually ends around March or April.  Hence, we expect to spend around another $600 or so before the season is over, bringing the total spent on HHO to around $1800 for the winter.

To save money, especially in light of our recent cross-country move, we have opted to stay in Connecticut for Christmas.  We have begun to project the trips we plan on taking this next year, and we will post more about those at a later time.  Approximately $1500 will need to be saved for our three most important trips this next year, so we have embarked on a savings plan that will allow us to help meet our goal.  Between the two of us, we have begun committing $25/week into our respective savings accounts to help rebuild our reserves.  Stacey is committing to save at least $25, but is pushing to save $50 weekly.  Our long-term projections estimate that we can save between $2600 and $3900 in this next year following this savings plan of at between $50 and $75 weekly.  After these trips have been paid, we expect to net between $1100 and $2400 for our reserves.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we are beginning the process of snowballing our debt.  We are restructuring our student debt presently.  Stacey has consolidated all of her federal loans into one big loan to make payments easier.  We filed for this loan well over a month ago and it is presently being certified, which is one of the last stages before the loan money is disbursed.  I am applying to lower my largest payment, my federal consolidation loan, using the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan.  My privately-held student loans are presently up for grabs by a credit union who is preparing to offer me terms buy my loan from Auntie Sallie (i.e. SallieMae).  The aim in talking with the credit union is to a) find a better interest rate, b) lower my monthly payment, and c) get rid of SallieMae.  Once our student loan debt has been restructured, we plan to use the newly-unallocated income to take sizable chunks out of consumer debt.  As soon as our consumer debt has been eliminated, that income will be used for other “improvement” projects, such as a new-to-us car, and further snowballing of our student loan debt.

This next month should prove unusual, especially with Christmas right around the corner.  Our spending habits around the holidays tend to be less-than-regular, so I will report on how well we do near the beginning of January.  Until then, carry on!

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