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December Look Back / January Look Ahead

January 5th, 2015 at 04:23 am

The look back/look ahead is just my way to try to keep myself on track with my saving and spending. I have an Excel spreadsheet I love for tracking my debt paydown but it doesn't translate well to saving and spending; I find I'm more about words than numbers for those areas.

December
I ended up opening a savings account at My Savings Direct for 1.05% interest. (I had some other reno funds set aside that I figured I might as well get into something paying more than 0.01%.) I tried to open a GE Capital account, which is paying the same rate as MSD, but for some reason they wouldn't let me (the letter they sent explaining why they wouldn't really didn't explain anything!). Now I've got to decide whether I want to transfer the emergency fund and the reno fund over to MSD; interest-wise I should but for some reason I'm reluctant to close my Capital One 360 account. I guess because I've had it since it was ING and they were paying the best interest rates around -- part sentimental and part hoping they'll step up their game, I guess. The smart thing is probably to leave a small amount in there and move the rest over, and if the interest rate becomes more favorable I'll just move it back.

I had decided to set aside $500 of my Chase Rewards for Christmas and birthdays this year. We ended up scaling back on gifts in my family -- not really for any financial reason, but we all have so much stuff, and nothing really that we want or need that we wouldn't just buy ourselves. (I'd like a fitness tracker, for example, but I need to do some research and decide which will best suit my needs, and then decide which 'fits' best. My mom did give me some cash that will cover most of the expense and I'll wait for a good sale.) At any rate, when all is said and done I'll end up at about $380 on gifts. I think I'll put the extra $120 toward the Mega Savings Challenge.

I ended up paying $2,384 in total debt in December, $1,013 in interest and nothing to my avalanche. The debt consolidation we did a couple of months ago was via a peer to peer loan, which has a fixed term rather than revolving like the credit cards we consolidated. As a result, our total minimum payments across all of our debts has increased by about $200 per month (with a faster payoff date). Which means technically I won't be paying extra on my avalanche for a few months, and then it will be small amounts for a few months. (I was paying around $150-200 extra.) I have a few 0% rates expiring in the spring/summer that I'll pay off, so those minimums will then become extra for the avalanche.

January
January should be a fairly low-key month, recovering from the holidays and gearing up for our busy seasons at work. We're going to have to do something about the wall furnace in our Florida room; it quit working about a month ago. We've been using an electric space heater, but temps are dropping and I'm not sure that's going to be adequate for the entire winter. I'm looking at some non-venting heaters that hook up to the gas line; the reviews are great and people are using them to heat 1,000 square foot bungalows, but they cost about $200-300. The quote we got to replace the (natural gas) wall furnace was I think $2,500. I'm a little skeptical that something that's 1/10 the cost will work just as well (or better, actually, since the wall furnace was a bit of a lemon!). We'll be doing some more research, and ensuring it's returnable if we do end up getting it. Hopefully those will be all of our major expenses for the month, except for some belated Christmas gifts to ourselves for which we'd already set aside funds.

1 Responses to “December Look Back / January Look Ahead”

  1. VS_ozgirl Says:

    I like your idea of keeping a small amount in your Capital One account and moving it to somewhere that pays a better interest rate, you have to be loyal to the amount in your bank account and its future earnings, not the corporation. That way you can keep an eye out and move it all back in there if their rates become more favourable.

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