My 2020 goal #4 is “Pay no CC interest or fees”.
Since I have a balance on a 0% card that expires in May, I’ve decided to do a combination of paying it off and transferring to another 0% card with no fee involved. I applied for a Bank of America card (I mentioned it on Amber’s blog earlier.) that has a 0% rate with no fees for balance transfers before mid-March. It was approved and they just completed the balance transfer.
The original total amount parked on the 0% CC was $19k. I transferred $10 of that, leaving me to pay $9 right away. I used the federal refund toward the balance; I will use the smaller state refund toward it; I used a portion of my quarterly bonus; Now I am diverting amounts from regular pay between now and May. I should get ‘er done.
I will likely just pay the minimums to BoA each month while I focus on other goals. My next focus is the EF. Then later in the year I’ll make a plan for what’s remaining on the BoA card. Its 0% special expires in April 2021.
Viewing the 'Goals' Category
My 2020 goal #4 is “Pay no CC interest or fees”.
I can see that our federal tax refund is expected to be direct-deposited in two days. We’re getting $2606 back this year which means I had too much withheld, but next year we’ll lose $3500 in child/dependent tax credits so I’ll need to adjust withholding to prevent owing a thousand bucks, assuming all other things are equal this year. I’ll take a closer look at that during the summer after I know whether there is any increase in income and after I take some time to research any tax code changes that could impact us.
Of course the $2606 is allocated. I budgeted $900 for our annual CSA membership and the rest to the 0% CC. I over-budgeted slightly for the CSA and I also got a discount for paying it early and in full instead of using a payment plan. It was $815. That’s a ‘full share’ size box of organic veggies every week from April 22nd week to the week before Christmas.
The local delivery site is easily walkable from my house so on veggie day I block an hour in my work schedule to leave my desk and go pick them up. I like having the commitment because it insures that I get exercise and fresh air that day. I bought a used stroller at a garage sale last year just for this purpose because the bag of veggies gets heavy in the middle of the summer.
Now that I have the juicer, I may try juicing some things this year. And by the way, I’m loving the juicer! My favorite so far is carrot-apple with a little raw ginger.
My 2020 goal #2 is to adopt a permanent health-enhancing habit each month. I’ve decided that my new health habit for February will be to consume fresh organic juice at least 3 times each week.
We used to have a Jack Lalanne juicer but it bit the dust a few years ago. I’ve just purchased a juicer that’s a step up and recommended by some of the health gurus that I follow – the Champion juicer. It’s pricey so it’s only going to be a smart purchase if I really do make frequent use of it.
NEW HEALTH HABIT #2:
Consume fresh organic juice at least 3 times a week
Easily boosts absorption of vitamins, minerals, & antioxidants to provide energy and detoxification. Hydrates the body, improves digestion, keeps body in an alkaline state, promotes longevity.
Upfront – $350
Ongoing – $50/month
The ongoing cost is a guess. I already buy organic fruits & veggies but I do recall being surprised before at how much produce it takes to make a glass of juice. But on the other hand the juice will be a replacement for calories I’m currently getting elsewhere. I’ll update this number once I see the actual change in our grocery bill.
This new habit is an expensive one, probably the most expensive one I’ll acquire this year because it has both an upfront cost and an ongoing cost that are substantial. I was going to wait until later in the year to pull the trigger on this one since I have financial goals too, but I want the health benefits now. Expensive, but still cheaper than medical bills!
2020 health habits so far:
(1) Fast one day per month
(2) Consume fresh organic juice at least 3 times a week
Mostly out of fear for our upcoming college expenses over the next half dozen years, I made a plan over a year ago to get our house debt paid. Our house debt is a combination of a mortgage and a HELOC. The mortgage interest rate is 3.49%. The HELOC rate, which can change, is 5.64%. So every extra principal payment I make goes to the HELOC.
In order to make it doable when I started, and also to use a method where one bad month couldn’t blow it for me, I created a schedule with defined percentages instead of dollar amounts. The percentages increase over the course of time as I should be able to find additional money to throw at the debt. As you can see (I have to get the photos to work for this post!), I need to come up with $1779 worth of principal payments this month including my regular scheduled payment. That shouldn’t be a problem. But next month, I have another percentage increase.
Only people on sites like this would understand these games that motivate me to do the right thing!
For our family January ended on a sad note: FIL died yesterday. He was in hospice so it wasn’t unexpected but still tough to accept.
Yesterday was my fast day too (new habit – one of my 2020 goals) and I survived. Going for two days to get my February day in too was not an option though – 24 hours was as much as I could take. So I’ll plan for another day in February. And I’ve got to decide what my second new health-enhancing habit will be beginning this month.
On the financial front (since that’s the focus of the blog!), DS4 had an interview today for a summer job. He feels good about it. He was nervous but prepared. I’m really proud of him, no matter what happens. Hopefully he’ll get an offer after they check his references.
I’ve stopped using the Ally CC and I’ll redeem my points for cash to the online savings account once my last purchase moves from ‘pending’ – a nearly $300 vet bill for our feline’s annual check-up. Then I’ll be done with that account.
I’ve started doing taxes and hope to finish them within a few days. And I’ve sent principal payments to the 0% CC with a balance and to house debt. I’ve also just been reimbursed for my business trip earlier in the month so I need to send that to the CC before it’s due.
I don’t know why but I didn’t feel as eager as I usually do to draft my goals this year. But I know how powerful it is to have them so I am doing it now.
(1) Get EF back to 3 months’ basic expenses
(2) Adopt a permanent health-enhancing habit each month
(3) Renew my professional certification by the September due date
(4) Pay no CC interest or fees
(5) Spend time with each kid to encourage his current area of growth
(6) Complete identified home maintenance
It will be a big year for us – two graduations! (fingers crossed)
(4) sounds easy, but I have a balance on a 0% card that expires this year. So it’ll need to be paid off and/or transferred to another 0% card with no fee involved
(5) Areas of focus:
DS1 – career planning
DS2 – housing of his own
DS3 – college transition
DS4 – Scout rank advancement
DS5 – Confidence, schoolwork
(6) Next maintenance:
Replace half-bath light/fan
Painting: living room, family room, & downstairs ceilings
I figure that it’s probably good to give an overview of our family situation and my values so you can understand why I spend on the things I do. And also hold me accountable when my spending patterns do not appear to support my stated priorities.
DH and I married young but didn’t have kids until later. For most of our marriage I have been the primary breadwinner, and since 2007 when he suffered brain damage from a bicycle accident, I have been the only breadwinner. It’s been interesting to read MM’s blog because her situation has some similarities. We have 5 boys ranging in age from 16 to almost-25.
I plan to retire the year I turn 60. Much of my financial strategizing is done with that in mind, but there are things that I will spend on even when it takes me further from that overall goal:
++ Family, especially preparing the boys for their adulthood
++ Health, mostly preventive things that are not medical services
++ Home environment, because it has such an impact on my mood and outlook
I’m probably forgetting something, but those are the biggees.