More great utility news:

Gas (heating, hot water) dropped from $68 to $32 this month (20% discount, washing in cold water only)
Cell phone went from $188 to $153 last month when we changed service, to $73 this month where it should stay. That’s huge.
on top of electric which went from $123 to $62.
So that’s $212 I DON’T have to come up with this month or hopefully going forward.
WOW. Grateful for small blessings.

We are having nice weather in Washington

So I listed my Alfa Romeo on Craigslist hoping a cheap convertible will sell quickly. I went to show it to a potential buyer on Friday and the Fuel Pump went out. So $500 later I have it back from the mechanic and am ready to sell it again. The money that I get from the sale will wipe out the last of my fast payday loans. So excited for my Debt Free scream!
I was talking to a family member who was thinking of changing to a more expensive hairdresser. This family member is in need of FPU but hasn’t made that leap for themselves. After talking to them for awhile I realized that living on a budget is starting to feel normal since starting on October 1st. My son and I feel like we’ve splurged if we go to a matinee. Our excitement is coming in $10 under budget at the grocery store and using that money to treat ourselves to frozen yogurt on the way home.
It’s nice having a new “normal” where I feel like I’m in control of my income rather than wondering where it all went.

So many productive things accomplished this weekend!

1. Took out grocery/dining/gas money in cash – $240

2. Made grocery list and planned all 21 meals plus snacks for the week.

3. Budgeted that the groceries would cost aprox $125 – bill came to $114!!!!

4. Filled up gas for car in cash – $50

5. Paid for Cinco de Mayo drinks/apps in cash! – $47

6. Still have $30 leftover for misc food/kid stuff (just in case)

7. Had a budget committee meeting with DH. Very productive and the first in a very, very long time.

8. Planned week’s worth of expenses and funded checking account.

9. Found $178 in a savings account labeled Replace Furniture and paid off couch! $240 It will feel much more comfy tonight.

Whew!

I had to laugh at my horoscope for this morning:

“You’ve got to take care of your bills or whatever other financial issues are pressing, but you can’t just throw money at the problem. Get organized and create something sustainable.”

We’re STILL trying to have a month where we start with a fully planned and discussed zero-based budget, in advance, then stick with it on all line items through the whole month. We’re still trying to figure out how to boost income, cut costs, and carry the farm forward into fully optimized production. Some days it seems like we aren’t making much progress, and there’s still the ever-present reminders that friends and family are still living with borrow-now-pay-later philosophies. And we’re STILL trying to figure out how to buy a combine, that particular item proving to be a very elusive quarry.Yet, somehow this weekend we felt like we made progress on all fronts. It also occurred to me this weekend that we haven’t had a major financial blowup in months around here. Just more and more instances of good constructive conversations about how best to manage what we do have. We’ve focused for years on sustainable agriculture, so I suppose it was only natural that after DR, we’d start to really focus on sustainable household/business economics. And we’re wrapping our brains around ‘when’ we’ll be debt-free, rather than it feeling like a fantasy. I can work with that.

Makes perfect sense to me and for exactly the reason you noted in your last paragraph

You need more insurance should your death be “premature”- that is to say, you still have to make arrangements for the care and feeding of minor children, keep the family in the house you’re currently residing in, replacement of your income for the sustainability of the family over time. When none of these factors are in play, your need for life insurance is drastically cut and you weigh the return on investment of payment of premium on term life insurance.

Check your life insurance policy and read it closely

Dh’s company just did open enrollment of all their benefits this last week and he discovered something about his term life insurance with them, that he was told applied to all life insurance policies. He turned 65 in February and we expected a hike in the premium as a result, that just makes sense because we crossed a threshold into the more likely to die category due to age. That is not what surprised us.

Per the representative, and we verified this with other companies as well, once you cross that 65 age mark your policy value goes DOWN 35%!!! By this I mean if you are paying for a $50,000 policy and something, God forbid, happens you only get 65% of the face value! Furthermore, every four years after that your premium goes up and your true value goes down!

I knew this was common with whole life policies, DR talks heavily about this, but we believed that if you were paying for a certain amount for a policy that was what you got with term life, but it’s not so. The companies we checked with all said the same thing. So if you are near the 65 age mark, you might want to check your coverage. Because with ours the premium due went up and the value of the pay out went down, as of February.

Dh and I looked at our insurance needs and decided that we are getting closer to the mark of what we’d need to be paid out by lowering our coverage and putting that extra money on our debt snowball. Because I am only 62 we kept mine high for now. As we get more and more debt free we will need less to cover our expenses from insurance in the future. So it made sense to us to lower our premium cost some and apply that money to fixing it where we’d only need burial money in the future. Right now we are still paying for much more than burial, but four years from now we will lower our term life coverage even more.

I went through this issue with ATT

Seems like more and more carriers are trying to move loyal customers (long time) customers off of their unlimited plans and start charging for data. If I were you, I would do exactly what they say and go back to the store and make them hold to the agreement you talked about and thought you were signing up for!

It took about 2 months for ATT to put me back on my unlimited everything plan and they were none to happy about it, but like I told them, I would never willingly give up my unlimited data, texting and talk plan. I realize what I have and because I upgraded phone, doesn’t mean I was upgrading or changing my plan.

I haven’t any ideas, but I’m curious as to why you’re opting out on this?

I’m not looking to argue or anything along that line, I’m simply curious. I’ve spent the past two weeks helping to administer testing to our grade schoolers for the testing our diocese requires for their students. I know the benchmarks are very helpful to the teachers, and to me as a parent, in knowing what my child’s strengths and weaknesses are, and as to what additional services might be helpful to my child based upon the information gleaned from these tests.

Well, I paid bills today

All told, it will come to $997, making minimums on everything including utilities ($308), Debt ($120), Car pmt ($390) but not including our TMobile bill, which has mysteriously INCREASED by $20 for data….which was supposed to be included in the $80 a month bill.

I called TMobile and they’re like “well, you’ll have to go back to the store where you wrote your contract and get it resolved because if WE change it, it will lock you into a NEW plan, and the only thing we can do is take the data OFF.”

Which would actually be OK for my DD22, but IT’S NOT WHAT I AGREED TO Feb 26th !!

So I’m trying to calm down. Because the reality is even if we left TMobile, I’m still going to be at $80 a month minimum for 2 lines: 1 for the entire Family, and 1 for DH. As it stands, if I take the internet/data off DD22’s, we’ll be down to $90. Which is way better than the $180 we were paying 3 months ago, but it’s not the amount we are supposed to be paying.

Just annoys the heck out of me.