Sorry for the delay in reply

My computer crashed (the old me would have gone out and charged a new one!!) HA, so alas I had to be patient!! he he he
You can create and manage a budget on Quicken. It can get complicated, but once you figure it out and get all the categories to line up with Dave Ramsey’s work works nicely. If you have Quicken it is under the “planning” menu and then click on budget. It is tricky to set up, but I like having everything integrated.
I use quicken as a tracking “during” the month. For instance I have all the monthly cash flow categories entered in there so all I have to do is enter it in, I can split my receipts (ie Wal Mart has grocery and home repair) it helps us to REALLY see where our money is going.
Hope that helps!! Good Luck!

I keep my debt snowball information in Excel

but use this package to manage my budget, checking acct, emergency fund acct, and savings acct for non-regular spending (car repair, Christmas, clothes, etc). What I like best is the graphical layout/interface of the application. It puts your money in “envelopes” and lets you group them however you like. You can always pull a history on each envelope to tell you where your money is going. It also lets you run reports to see various information. You can track credit cards & loans in the software but I prefer to keep my debt snowball tracking in Excel.

I’ve used both Money and Quicken in the past. Like them both but never seem to keep the updates going more than a month or two. Still have to enter transactions here. However, the layout seems to give me a better picture of my money which has somehow motivated me to keep up with it.

Good luck!

Let me first of all state I have 3 sils

THE sil, who I would love to see go to jail, dh’s other sister who got hoodwinked by a con artist and ended up doing time in a federal jail for bank fraud and the good sil who I refer to in posts as dsil—she’s married to dbil.
When sil #2 was up for parole she had to have a guaranteed place of work before the feds would spring her. THE sil came up with a long list of companies that would hire felons DetroitHarmonie.Com US payday lenders get money for bad credit. Amazingly enough she was hired to deliver pizzas by a friend of her son’s. Even more amazing, 10 years after her conviction she can LEGALLY go back to work for any fDIC bank—it was not a tiny amount of money folks. \She had 20 years to pay back the money she never saw—she was convinced by a customer to let some hot checks slide for some payrolls and such. Long story-still on bad keyboard so can’t type it out right now, she did turn state’s against him so the 7 years she got was “light”.
The reason for letters (I think collect calls are in bad taste—especially from such and such correctional centers) is because parole’s must have a guaranteed place of employment before being released—at least at the fed level.
Now, about 13 years later she is day manager for the pizza place, but will be moving back to OK soon and therefore will once again have to fill out job apps as a felon—for the rest of her life. All because she believed the guy when he convinced her she’d be helping out his employees whom he couldn’t cover their paychecks for a few days—more than once. He’d pay it back, then need another slide, pay back, slide, pay back, slide in ever increasing amounts and then suddenly NO payback. She went to her boss immediately when she realized she’d been suckered. She plead guilty, and testified against him, but she got the harsher of the two sentences and he got the money.
Remind me sometime to tell you what all is involved in getting to be able to even write a letter to a person in a minimum security fed prison, what all she went through, and the hurdles of visiting a prisoner—it’s not what they show on tv, by any means.

My problem with Quicken is

that fewer and fewer of my financial institutions make their data available in the form that Quicken recognizes. For me, the advantage to Quicken was that I could download recent transactions straight into the program. It was a lot faster to go through and reconcile that way than it is if I have to manually enter all the transactions.

I have my own business and Quicken does make it easy come tax time to track expenses for tax purposes, but I’m looking into switching to a different program that will recognize the form in which my bank offers the information for download.

Since I did my own taxes for the first time this year, and chose TaxCut, I’d like the program to be compatible with that program as well.

Actually, I have a financial software package on my computer

but I actually prefer to use a spreadsheet. That’s my preference. We own a computer networking and service business. I can tell you that most people put 1 month of information in their Quicken, or MS Money, and never use it again. 🙂 I do have ONE friend who actually uses her financial software, she prints checks with it, and such. This was her husband’s idea. She doesn’t seem too fond of the software herself.
Frankly, I haven’t even checked to see what functions are in Quicken for quite a few years.

In my studio/office

I knew I needed the filing cabinet sorted first to file incoming paperwork and the stuff I have on hand that is current stuff. As I clear the papers/mail I will have more room to work on the other projects I need to do to get my space organized. That is why I started there. I think either method, yours or mine, works depending on the situation.

You reminded me that I have worked hard on a 2 drawer filing cabinet

It took a lot longer that I thought it should have. But it’s pretty much done. I had to shred stuff, buy letter size manila envelopes with clasps to put stuff in. That stuff is done. I just need to figure which file folders are really needed and put those back. I feel much lighter having gotten paper work ready for storage … it is tax related stuff and bank statements. Otherwise I would dump it.

I still have some work to do in my studio but I hope it will get easier as stuff gets ditched.

I’ve had other fires to attend to already this week

so haven’t chimed in much on this thread. But I’ve been watching and thinking “hmm, this 15-minutes-a-day stuff might work nicely here too. And Kathy you’re right. It’s very similar to the “change the mindset” involved with Oli. Once that habit is formed, and that mind-set has shifted, it’s easier to stay with it forever. I hate to take on yet another “new thing” this year already, but this one seems pretty worthy. And we certainly need it. Sigh. Where to spend my 15 minutes today?

I am on Day 2/365 of 15 min a day decluttering

Every morning between shuttling kids I have about 20-25 minutes. I used to spend it checking email. I’ve decided I’m going to spend it decluttering, and started with the home “office.”

I have let it go so long that you can barely tell I’ve made a dent, but I’ve gotten rid of a bag of trash, disposed of last year’s unnecessary mail and cleared a path so you can actually walk through it.

More importantly, I’m starting a habit and getting out from under the burden of STUFF just like I am developing the habit of getting out from under the burden of debt.

The kids may complain at first but if done on a consistent basis

they may feel empowered like mom is not coming in and just throwing away willy nilly. They can learn to make choices about what is most important to them. Of course if they are young they will need more guidance and choices limited. A 5 year old doesn’t need to be told to “get rid of 20 things in your room” but instead, say “Here are 2 old barbies. You can keep one and share one. Which one do you want to keep, this barbie or this one?” Of course, older kids and teens can be sent to their room with a timer and a garbage bag or box. I think having focused energy for 15 minutes might help over come the overwhelming feeling of it being an all day affair.

I have done the 5, 10, or 15 minute thing with my dh and dd. I have asked “give me x minutes” focused on straightening up. I set the timer and as soon as it dings, they can quit and go on to whatever they want to do. I believe the reason it works at my house is because I don’t harp on them to “give me a few more minutes” (or items to get rid of).

Thanks all for the motivation on this

Between my 6 kids, two jobs, my self employment activities, my new treadmill schedule that I fit in when I’m already exhausted and ready to go to bed… I really do NOT have 15 minutes to spare. No kidding. But you’ve inspired me, and I’m going to try to fit in five minutes per day – starting tonight when the kids go to bed. Hey, not much – but it will add up a lot faster than the zero daily minutes I’m spending now.

We are not even debt free yet

and we get a lot of accusations that we are selfish because we won’t abandon the program to give them money so they can vacation, buy non necessities, etc. When we suggest they even read a copy of tmmo we are told it is a scam and that we are fools. Yet look at whose debt is shrinking and whose is escalating out of control.

The haters I know have “stuff”

I’m sorry, but I don’t need “stuff” to make me happy. These are the same people who have been paying on their house for 20+ years and owe 3x what they initially purchased it for.

I’m hated because I am a stay at home mom and we don’t need 2 incomes to make it. I stay home to make sure everyone stays on track. DH traveled for his job for almost 20 years before he was able to cut back–I’m talking 40+ weeks on the road. Now we are changing directions after he took the early retirement option, but they only see he is not “working”. they see us doing improvements on the house and yard, but don’t know how we can afford it…no CC, so that money can be spent elsewhere.

I have not used a credit card since 2007

don’t miss it, and really don’t WANT one. Since I don’t *have* a cc, there’s no way to slip up and charge something. Now having said that, I realize it can be a total pain to rent a vehicle *without* a credit card. I”m under the impression that you can PAY for a vehicle with a debit card, but you can’t RESERVE one with it. I’m looking at renting a motorcycle when I go to Reno in April. They want a credit card with a $1500 limit for the deposit. I’ve considered getting a credit card with just that limit on it. If they actually charge the deposit, I’d get it back when I return the motorcycle. So it would be debt in name only. I still haven’t decided what to do, because I certainly don’t want to have to walk in there with $1500 CASH for the deposit…
I don’t consider pulling from your emergency fund going back into debt, so I can say I’ve *never* slipped up since getting rid of my credit cards…

You know I have found that to be true as well

Since we have no credit card debt some a friend is always making comments about it. But it doesn’t seems like positive remarks either. It’s a jealousy things in my opinion.

I don’t care what she says…or anyone else for that matter. I know I am following what God wants for my life. Do I slip up? Sure. (of course that is when my friend like to take a stab at me), but I pick myself up and start over….but I have to say, a slip up for a few hundred dollars is better than thousands!

And while we are on the subject…..I have a question for those of you who used to carry debt on credit cards (student loans, owe someone else money….etc) and now are debt free…minus your mortgage? I am assuming there’s been a time or two you’ve slipped up and charged something again or taken money from your FFEF for something that wasn’t technically an emergency…my question is, did putting yourself back in debt feel different to you?

I wonder this because recently we took money from our FFEF to buy airlines tickets to visit my hubby’s family. I hated the thought of doing it, but my dh was adamant that we were going and I was adamant that we weren’t using the credit card. So the EF it was. Anyway, I treated it like a debt to pay us back. And that whole time it felt weird to be in debt again after all that time of not being in debt. I was more stressed and my anxiety was worse.

Anyone else had similar experiences?

Haters aka motivation

I have found out being debt free makes you a target for haters. I have had numerous people talking junk about us since we paid off our house and they are all family. You know the type. The Dave Ramsey followers are crazy type people. I guess I must be doing something right ! LOL So, today everyone get up , kill some debt and make those haters hate ! You got this babyyyyyyyyy !!!!!

The reason our pipes burst is because the gas company was replacing lines

Some guy with the gas company got the key to our home from the realtor and went inside the vacant home to inspect the work. He thought he smelled gas so he turned the gas (heat) off in the house but failed to tell the real estate company what he’d done when he returned the key to their offices. Instead, he hung a red tag from the garage door with a note of what he’d done. Idiot. The house was right off from Lake Erie and it was the week before Christmas. I’d left the heat on because the house was being shown and there were a lot of people in and out of the house. Unfortunately, that was a slow week. When a realtor walked in on Christmas eve to show the house, the pipes had probably burst a couple of days earlier. The gas company did admit responsibility, which is admirable, but it was still a huge pain, and it was very, very expensive to put the house back in order (to the tune of six figures). Oddly enough, we did sell it during the reconstruction process. The new owners picked what they wanted in the house, and the insurance money paid to have that work done.

Oh – OUTSIDE!

I was trying to figure out how the inside pipes froze when the house was warm enough to inhabit… But I’m sure those folks with unheated crawlspaces run into problems as WELL…
I’m wondering what my neighbor(who moved a month ago) is doing with the vacant house. It the heat is still on, it must be costing him a fortune. But I guess that as long as the furnace is set to about 50, there’s no danger of areas cold enough to freeze.

Yow..

The pipes going to my bathrooms run through the middle of the basement, so nowhere near exterior walls.The only pipes I’d have to worry about that with are the ones to my kitchen. And I had never considered that before now… But the water coming out doesn’t seem extraordinarily cold, so maybe it’s not an issue.

You had even more cold than we did, that’s for sure!

I’m in the Detroit area — lowest we got was -15 🙂 It’s a balmy -2 this morning, but supposed to warm up to 16! Maybe I can wear shorts! 🙂 Tomorrow we’re supposed to completely thaw out, so I’ll feel better.
We had water dripping when the pipe froze, but my husband thinks he might have screwed up and not left both the cold and water dripping in the bathroom…the cold water side froze.
My biggest advice to everyone here – I know it sounds simple, but no matter where you live, right now, if you don’t already know, find you main water shut off valve. We knew where ours is, but it’s so hard to find — underneath some cabinets behind a nailed shut access panel (who nailed it shut I’m not sure) I saw three facebook friends yesterday posting videos of a blown water pipes filling their basement with water…and when I asked why they weren’t shutting off their water, they said they didn’t know where the shut off valve was – um…look for it!!! 🙂
Our two and half days frozen pipe cleared last night. We slowly turned the water back on and so far no signs of leakage/bursting. I worked from home today and am sitting in the basement with the space heater near the pipes still just to make sure 🙂 Didn’t want to come home from work to a wet basement!
So far, we’ve saved plumbing costs…but made up for it when my husband locked himself out of the house yesterday –leaving to go use the bathroom of the gas station down the street. Unfortunately, our lock that neighbors have a key to is broken, so he had to call a locksmith (I was hours away and it was zero degrees out….had to do it) Thanks!

One of the schools that I work at had a broken pipe in the ceiling yesterday around lunch time

Water was coming down around the light fixtures and there was all sorts of concern about student safety. First, we evacuated into freezing weather and then got the okay to hang out in the gym. Many students were without their coats. Six classrooms were flooded and it was too dangerous to go in and get students’ backpacks or coats. What a mess. There were angry parents because we would not risk kids getting electrocuted just so they could get their things. We gathered up all spare coats and blankets and sent kids with these parents with what we could. A couple of teachers gave away their own sweaters and coats and then parents get angry. They should be thankful that we kept the kids safe and did our best to keep them warm.

Frozen pipes!

I know the tips to keep from freezing — kept water trickling, didn’t put furnace down, kept cupboards open. We have a frozen pipe. It’s still frozen — I’ve spent all morning trying to get it unfrozen. Tried turning the main water off, but for some reason it’s still running to other parts of the house — so my valve must not be working. Praying and praying it loosens soon. Unfortunately, this particular pipe freezes every other winter and this time all of the tricks in my arsenal couldn’t combat -40 degree windchill. The frozen pipe is behind drywall somewhere in our basement (the pipe runs the length of the basement, though I’m not sure the exact path it takes -but likely along one of the outside walls somehow). Because of this, I can’t apply direct heat, so just take the space heater downstairs and crank it up. It’s warmish down there — hopefully it will loosen without bursting the pipe – since the shut off valve isn’t cooperating, I’ll need to get that checked into, but I’d rather it not be with an emergency plumber!

Replacing my furnace paid for itself in a very few years, I’m sure

We had an ancient gas furnace with a big belly, that could never get the house above 68 even if we ran it full blast (and if you set the
thermostat to 68 it WOULD run full blast, non-stop) . It finally *cracked*. Giant flames, CO alarm, gas company tagged it as unsafe. No option but to put in a new furnace immediately. You don’t go through a Boston winter without a heat system. Happily, it died during an October cold spell so I had a little time to shop and scrounge together the money (*)

I put in a very-high-efficiency Carrier and the house gets as warm as we like for about half the money, it’s whisper quiet, and it has a variable speed fan that runs constantly and moves the heat around so we don’t have warm and cold spots, plus an air cleaner and a humidifier. With good humidity and air circulation the place feels warmer at a lower thermostat setting. The price difference between furnaces was not great.

(*) embarrassed now to say it, but scrounging the money at the time meant using one of those checks that come in the credit card ads, because I did not have $6k in an emergency fund. So I should add the interest cost to the total cost of replacing the furnace, but I did get it paid off reasonably quickly
That $6k also included a lot of plumbing and a new chimney liner , since our 1952 pipes weren’t up to current code, and legally in this state it had to be brought up to code when any work was done.

Furnaces only last 15 years?

I’ve been in this house for 13 years, and the furnace was old when I moved IN. Not sure how old, though. My water heater has an inspection sticker from 1995, so it’s at least 18 years old. But at $4000 for the furnace, it won’t replaced for a WHILE…

It has been mandated this week that everyone in our areas

(northern Michigan) keep one faucet dripping at all times with a stream of water the size of a pencil eraser, and the water must be warm. I’d always thought a drip was sufficient, and hadn’t any idea that the water needed to be warm, either. Those with a well (such as ourselves) need to keep the faucet the furthest from the well streaming continously at this time. I just thought this was interesting and informative info to have on hand. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this problem. I’ve dealt with broken/frozen pipes before, and it was very expensive to deal with (vacant home with extensive water damage).

One hint on keeping water pipes from freezing in cold weather

– open each tap enough for a thin stream of water to come out, and let that run all night long. For those combination hot/cold faucets, open up both sides enough that a little water is flowing through both sides. Since it’s difficult (and annoying) to have the toilet running all night, drink a lot of water right before bed so that you have a compelling reason to get up in the night to pee and flush. And if water lines are coming into the house along an outside wall, contained within a cabinet, open the cabinet doors before bed so that warm interior air can circulate within that compartment so those lines don’t freeze. I don’t have any sneaky hints for the washing machine lines; wish I did. And finally, if lines do start to freeze, get a heat lamp shining on them ASAP. Even 30min of that can often free up the lines before they freeze enough to burst the lines. Letting those blocked lines stay blocked, only allows more and more water in the line to freeze, thus taking longer to free up later.
If copper water lines do freeze and burst, and you can reach them, there’s a very easy way to fix them. A small brass widget called a compression fitting, can be used to replace the burst section of line. Any hardware store worth the name will know what a compression fitting is. Go to the hardware store with a sample of your plumbing tubing (to check for size), and they’ll be able to get you a compression fitting that will fit, along with a pipe cutter that will allow you to splice it into place. All told, that repair should cost less than $10 for a pipe cutter and compression fitting, then perhaps a few more dollars for each additional fitting.
These lessons (and more) have been very patiently but thoroughly given to us over the years, courtesy of our nearly 100 year old farmhouse. If anyone needs more detailed information, email me offlist. We spent the first 10 winters here with our lines frozen at least a few days each winter. This winter is hopefully (knock on wood) our first without a single line break. Hope everyone is able to stay warm tonight…….

We have a three year old

so it makes everything a bit more anxiety inducing for me…and keeps me away from some of the alternative heat sources, for safety sake. :). We did spend some time playing in the basement today and our tiny electric heater kept us warm, and served the dual purpose of warming up the area that has a lot Of our pipes as well!