Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dream Time

Well, lately I posted my debt free goal. Now I want to dream a little further.
 
My daughter always asks me this impossible questions like , what would you do with 100 million lempiras ? (about 5 million dollars). She knows the first part of my answer already which is "pay all the money I owe!!
 
So this time when they are away with their mom visiting friends I'm take a few minutes to dream. What if I had a very large sum of money ? or how much money would I like to have?
 
I would like enough that I could enjoy my work freely. I don't want to hang around my house but I wouldn't want to be at work from 8am to 9pm as I am right now. I would like to work some 20 to 30 hours a week. Then spend the rest of the time helping others help themselves. Learning new stuff and making sure my girls would be ready to live their lives as good people and good profesionals, no really big nest egg for them. Then I would like to be able to retire from my dayjob and work as a consultant until the time I have to leave this earth.
 
Well, they are comming back now ..so time to get back to reality.
 
 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Debt Free Goal

I haven't thought the details of this yet, however I wanted you to know about it.
 
My first debt free goal, meaning something I want to do when I have paid all my debts, is to take flying lessons and get a private pilots license.
 
I've always han a passion for airplanes, airlines, flying, airports, and the technology surrounding them. From the simple small planes that are used for instruction to the massive Airbus A380, I enjoy watching most of them. Some time ago I was a "virtual pilot" in a "virtual airline" and using my flight simulator I took "virtual flights" and earned "virtual money". I really enjoyed it until I started having money issues and couldn't spend enough time sitting in a chair watching virtual world go by the virtual windows of my virtual airplane.
 
Now at most I read airline articles here and there and visit my local airport or hear Air Traffic Control frequency on my radio or online. However deep inside me is that urge to climb onboard an airplane and fly it. I may or may not enjoy it, as it's different to be flying in a smooth passenger jetliner than on a small instruction airplane, but I have to do it at least once.
 
Flying is definitely not cheap, and I would be scared if it were. So unless I really have money to spend on it I can't take flying lessons. I think that's a pretty good motivating goal for me. If only my wife would appreciate it too I would help a lot.
 
Anyway, I'm going to get me a tiny airplane model and hang it from my rear view mirror to remind me of my goal.
 
Enjoy the weekend.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Straight Talk , unlimited cellphone service

So I was reading this sunday all my twitter posts and as I follow some debt payment, and frugal living posts I came across a post that say "cellphone service for teens". and pointed to www.straighttalk.com
 
So I read on and was skeptic of what I was reading. Unlimited minutes, unlimited text message and unlimited data access for $45 a month with no contracts! Sounds too good to be true. I spent $30 on two weeks of cellphone service last time I was in Phoenix and I was holding myself back. Specially on the inbound calls because I knew those are charged to me to, unlike here in Honduras.
 
So I dug up more and read reviews and it is true unlimited use. I texted my sister in the US and asked her what was her usually monthly cellphone bill and she said it was about $150. I told her about this service and I hope she takes it and saves $100 for something else.
 
Unfortunately there is no such thing in Honduras. However I thought it would be good for you guys to know about this, because if you are looking to lower your cellphone bill to a fixed amount and not be tied to a contract, I think this is right for you. from what I know most companies charge $1 a day for unlimited calls within their network, that's already $30 a month, add calls to landlines, other mobile operators, text message (to and from twitter obviously, hehe), you would end up with about $45 at least.
 
If you don't think you call or text or go online from your phone that much, they also have a $30 plan for 1000 minutes, 1000 text messages and 30mb of transfered data. Oh but what I'm saying, just go there and read and if it helps your budget them i'm glad I was able to help. Just don't look for fancy phones on their lineup, but in my case I wouldn't care.
 
I would hope there was such a plan here, but there isn't. My plan is the best one I could have. I can call all the member of my plan for free up to 10 minutes per call. If I only call them them I pay NOTHING every month. However calling anyone outside the plan, either same cellphone company, other or landlines implies charges. Lower rates for same company numbers, more for other mobile operators and landlines. Less during nights and weekend and more during days.
 
Also for $5 each month I can add three numbers that I can call for free for up to 10 minutes per call. Obviously those numbers shouldn't already be in my plan and have to be on the same cellphone company as I am. and for $7 more I can have nights and weekends free calls to all numbers, once again on the same cellphone company. Plus $15 for the internet service of up to 1Gb of transfered data means that I could look at a $27 bill each month if I only called those numbers and didn't text more than 200 messages each month. So it's no surprise that my regular cellphone bill is about $50. My wife's is a bit more because she keeps talking over the 10 minute limit and charges start to apply.
 
Oh and I have two phones, one on a family plan and one on a work plan, because each one has free calls only to it's members. Too complicated, right? Before each call I have to ask myself if i'm calling relatives, am I calling coworkers? am I calling one of the three numbers on my 0 rate group? can it wait till night? is it a weekend? am I sending too many text messages? am I boring you?
 
I would love the unlimited plan from straight talk. Even at $50 I would drop one phone and use a single one for all my calls, then again I guess I would need an extra battery to get thru the day!
 
Let me know what you think
 
 
 

setting goals

November and December are hectic. November was hectic because if you watched news for a few minutes you probably found out that we elected a new president amidst a political crisis that we've had since june 28th. So there was a lot of tension in the air about election day. Was there going to be bombs, riots and clashes with police or was it going to be peaceful? was there going to be a great turnout of people voting or would most stay home fearing the violence. Well, it was definitely the most peaceful day in recent months and turnout was great. So that was kind a sigh of relief.
 
Now that things are more calm people are focusing on normal things. Here in Honduras we get what is called "aguinaldo". That is basically an extra month's pay. Imagine getting one full month of pay on Dec 5, and then your regular paycheks on the day you usually get paid. That and other things make for December a very hectic month. People run around with money trying to spend it all on gifts, food etc.
 
I already spent 50% of mine by paying september and october of my girls school. The rest of it I have to use to pay for November and December AND buy them clothes and guy supplies for meals on Christmas eve and New Years eve. It's a tradition that there is a lot of food cooked those days so that the next days the cooks can rest and eat with the family.
 
I tried as much as I could to hold on to the rest of my Aguinaldo, but I found myself paying for a few extras, like chicken from Popeyes, which is about 80lps more expensive than chicken from Pollo Campero. Little things that after a while my mind said stop! Then my wife got sick, again, with migranes, again. I had to buy her some medication and now I have to submit a ton of insurance paperwork with the hopes that some of tha that money will be reimbursed, I hope a stamp or a signature won't make them reject my claim.
 
The topic of this post came to be because in December, due to that money in the account plus the regular paychecks from my both jobs and other small incomes (coop profit distribution, overtime pay etc), I find myself with money that has no budget, with many things to do urgently and little time to go to banks. That is the recipe for disarter as I try to buy my way out of problems, like gifts or foods and being unable to take the time to go to the bank that always has long lines so I could deposit my money in my emergency fund and freedom accounts. Sure I could do it online but it's 20lps per transfer and for some reason those 20lps seem more real than the 15 lps I have to pay at the "convenient" ATM across the street, rather than the "free" ATM about a mile away after a busy intersection with traffic lights.
 
I guess these are hard decisions to make for something that is about $1 worth. Do I drive up there and spend time and fuel to get a free withdrawl? or pay 15 lps just walking across the street?
 
So I figure it would help me focus if I have goals. I mean being debt free is a goal, or is it not? I don't have a mortage because I don't have a house of my own so eventually I could owe nothing if I continue my plan. However I worry that once i'm debt free all that extra money will find a way out of my hands if I don't have goals for it. But what goals should I have? to free up my June and December bonuses by paying for my girls' school with my freed up salary? replacing my old car that goes in the shop frequently with a newer more reliable, comfortable, safer car? buying a house? doing all? doing something else? I haven't had a chance to think about it.
 
And what trigger it all? well the extra money this month was part of it, but the other was that i'm less that $100 away from paying up my dollar debt to my platinum credit card. That money in my budget will move to the next smallest amount, which is my cellphone credit card. that should take a few months , hopefully 10 or less and then on to the next one..and so on. As you can remember I have two credit cards on a payment schedule so I can't pay more to them than what is already set. So those will end in 18 and 24 months regardless, if I stick to the payment plan. I can see myself saying "ok i'm done paying, please cancel this credit card". It's easy to do that here, there is no negative aspect of canceling a credit card on your credit record (or so I think, I haven't ask for a loan in a while). I can see myself living with two cards instead of six that I have right now. Are those goals too?
 
Anyway. I feel I have too much money in my regular account, and even though I will pay 20lps for the transfer i'm going to transfer it right now and avoid the temptation of having them within easy reach.
 
Let me know what you think.
 
 

Monday, November 9, 2009

If I had a credit score

In Honduras there is no credit score, but there is a credit bureau. I know it because friends of mine work there. It's embarrasing when we discuss work stuff and they tell me anecdotes about their job and I know that i'm in their database because of all the late payments and all the debt i'm still paying.
 
The problem i've had lately is that my morning job is paying me very late. I'm sending my invoices on the 15th and getting paid on the 25 or 29th and I send the other invoice on the 30th and end up getting paid on the 13th or 14th. This is wrecking my credit card payment schedule. So they are once again calling me to pay, and I have to explain that I don't have the money until I get paid. Obviously they don't care and just want a promise from me, I try to set the promise as far in the future as I can. Sometimes I get 30 days behind and get charged late fees, but there's not much I can do.
 
Top that up with car trouble on both cars last month and I've been squeezed. I'm proud that I have only used my only available credit card to buy my blood pressure pills one night that I just didn't have enough cash on hand to buy it, the next day I would get money from my emergency fund. However I didn't pay it back then, as I'm hoping to get this new payment soon and pay it back from there.
 
If I had a credit score I think it would be 0, as I usually get at least one call every month. One card or the other goes past the due date for a couple of days.
 
Anyway..I gotta get back to work, I am grateful to have these jobs. Otherwise I don't know what I would be doing now.
 
Have a good day and stay out of debt!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Credit Card Companies, World Bank and IMF in miniature?

I have a payment schedule for my credit cards and loans, however the due dates for some cards bundle up and don't match my paycheck dates for both jobs. That means that every moment I get "gentle" reminders to pay my minimum payments on almost all my cards. Having a loan and two credit cards with Credomatic means they are the ones that usually call me the most.
 
Just about two weeks ago they were calling me to remind me of minimum payments on my cellphone card and my platinum. Lately i've been doing better in paying timely so this was just their reminder for me, they would call at 7:30am , or noon or 10pm. They would call for one card one day and I would confirm my payment date for both, but they would still call about the other card the next day.
 
I was mildly upset at their call strategy but I accept that I owe them money and they have the right to call me to pay.
 
However today they called me offering a second card for my cellphone credit card , "for your wife, son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister". What?!? So I don't have a good enough record to get extrafinancing but I have a good enough record to get more debt with another card? I was still shocked halfway thru the saleperson's pitch. At the end I just said no and fortunately he didn't press the issue more or I would've let him know of the thoughts in my brain.
 
So, as I'm reading about US credit card companies charging fees for someone not using their card enough or for inactivity, etc, basically penalizing good behavior, I wonder if this isn't how third world countries live. We get loans from international agencies, then they request payments as they are entitled to, when we are drowning in debt they set economic conditions for us and stop the money flow that the country is used to. The country is then concerned (worried) about making those payments on time.
 
Eventually we pay back some of the money so the international agencies are then kind enough to loan money back..and the vicious circle starts over.
 
So, no Mr. mini World Bank, no mini IMF, I don't want your "free" additional card. I don't want the discounted jewerly for us "selected customers", thank you very much. You fooled me for a long time but not any more.
 
Some days i'm inspired.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We are in!

Since I last wrote our ex President came back to the country. That led to some tense days were we couldn't leave our houses, then we could for a few hours then we had only night time curfews that at first started only a couple of hours after being announced.
 
As you can imagine it was some difficult days. Money wise, having to stay at home was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I could work more for my morning job and put more hours in. But a curse because when the stress of staying at home usually leads to eating more than usual, and when we are then given a few hours to go out, the first things to do are to go buy gas and foods.
 
With everybody in this 1 million people city trying to either get to work or to get food or gas at almost the same time, it's hard to be picky as to where to go to buy groceries, we had to go to the nearest place, not necesarily the cheapest. Stand in line for a couple of hours and then get back home with one the bare essentials to hold us up until the next day or days.
 
Then there was the uncertainty of not knowing how long curfews would last..or when the next curfew would start. In general my objectives were not affected much but they were affected some as I spent more on fuel and food than usual. Some days we bought more fast food than usual just because of the urgency to get food home.
 
Well that was that. Now things are calmer and we are back to regular days. I haven't seen a protest (they are out there, I just haven't seen them) in a long time now.
 
Remember that some time ago I was writing about asking Credomatic to reverse the $150 membership fee? Well I asked them, even though i've been late doing some payments, They said my request would take 3 to 5 business days. Then our ex president came in and things got delayed a bit more. But one day I logged into my bank's online site and was happy to see the credit for $150. So i'm really close now to finish paying that balance off. There is les than $300 to go on that.
 
I was asked to put my debt numbers up since it's been a year or so since I've updated. I'm interested too in looking at the comparison.
 
Lately i've been focusing more on putting in hours for the morning job as much as I can, almost to the point of making it another full-time job. That really cuts into the time that I have to write. However I always feel the need to write about the stuff that i'm going thru, but the day ends before I can sit down and write. I wasn't even able to twitter as frequently! Amazing!.
 
I still like to twitter because I can just write a thought or something that happened almost at the moment it did. While here I have to gather thoughts and write them out and take more time. But here I can extend myself much more on deeper thoughts. So today I bit the bullet and decided to write to keep this journal alive for myself for those of you who follow my trip to paying up all the money I owe.
 
I hope to post those numbers soon. I do have budgets now for my two jobs and all my debts and expenses. So I am tracking my money better.
I still have to put in those pesky unexpected expenses and small cash expenses down. They are big problem for me now and they keep throwing my budget off balance.
 
Today however it's a Honduran Holiday because our soccer team has qualified to the World Cup, so we are all in party mode. As I was writing these lines the Honduran soccer team arrived at the airport and it was a sea of people waiting for them there. Now they are at the presidential office and there is another sea of people there too. Later they are going to a Catholic mass and the church there is already packed with people. A little joy for a country that has been torn apart by political problems.
 
Well the happiness of today is free...
 
 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trip to the Mall, with my daughters!

Going to the mall by myself and spending practically nothing there was breeze. Going with my daughters and spending only about 300lps was a much complex task
 
Last weekend we went to not one but several malls with my daughters because we had two things to do. The oldest one wanted a replacement cellphone for the one that got stolen from here last year. She's been using a simple one but she says shes tired of it, I guess the word would be bored. Also it's from another company and when I give her balance for it, it doesn't last long as it used to. Her friends that had numbers with that company have returned to the one they had before.
 
Also my youngest daughter wanted a board game as a present for children's day, which in Honduras is Sep 10.
 
So imagine two girls, one wanting a brand new cellphone and another one a fun filled board game.
 
I will write it shortly because just remembering how my legs ached after walking thru stores and stores makes my legs ache again.
 
For the cellphone I was decided not to buy one, I was going to use either my points, my credit card points or my loyalty benefits to get one. After visiting several Tigo customer service stores we found out that I was out of points and my credit card points were not enough for the types of cellphones my daughter wanted. She wants basically a phone that can also play music, typical teenager cellphone.
 
I found out that my loyalty benefits for her phone numbers would allow for a new phone until march 2010, she was not to happy about that. My own number would allow for a new phone in october, however my dad's number would allow for a phone right away. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the only store where they could do that process was closed until monday.
 
She wasn't happy waiting for october either but she was happy that I could get her a phone soon. After that she understood that even with the loyalty plan I couldn't get her an expensive one cause I have to pay the taxes on any phone I get thru the loyalty plan and also it was not going to happen that saturday. I think next weekend we will try again at the right Tigo store and with an open mind to models and prices.
 
The lesson for me was not to give in to buying just because my first options were out, but rather look some more.
 
Money spent on new cellphone: zero, so far because there is no new cellphone. Oh and her new phone will be rate controlled to about $10 a month or so.
 
I immediately had to apply the lesson learned with my youngest daughter. We continued shopping and we went to the Hyper Paiz at Cascadas Mall and there were several games she wanted, the cheapest one was about 700lps, way above the 300lps I had set as the soft limit and even above the 400lps I had as a hard limit.
 
My strategy with her was to let her know that I wasn't going to spend a lot of money on a board game but that we could look at all the games and talk it out and decide on a game. She wasn't going to impose a game on me and I wasn't going to impose a definite price on her (even if I had a limit on my mind). So after the first ones at Paiz were too high I told her we should keep looking in other stores making a mental note of what we found there.
 
We went to Lady Lee and found some less expensive games but still around 550lps and they weren't in good condition. We went then to a Carrion store and looked at the games there and we finally settled on a nice Bingo game for L200lps. she liked it because it had the big wheel with all the balls inside, I saw it was in good condition and the price was right.
 
I think an important part was that I didn't outright said no to the first reasonable games. I said "I think those are too expensive, let's keep shopping". So that relieved her of feeling like she wouldn't get a game, just not that game.
 
After all that walking, I saw them both tired and even though the youngest one was happy with the game, the oldest one was a bit sad of not getting a cellphone that day but not too sad. So i said let get some ice cream. At 22lps each it was 66lps for the three of us. That was all that I spent besides the 200lps for the game. We left the house at about 1pm and came back at about 5:30pm. A whole afternoon having spent only 266lps and bringing back two happy, tired kids. I was amazed myself!
 
I hope to write soon about the differences in options available to manage debt here in Honduras vrs the US. For that I have to let some thoughts simmer thru.
 
See you soon

Friday, September 11, 2009

Trip to the Mall

I had a good experience at the mall today.
 
First of all I walked there from work since it's relatively close. saves me gas and headache of finding a parking space and it's good exercise.
 
Second I went there and felt relief of not feeling any urge to buy anything. I could've gone with my credit cards and I don't think I would've used them. I actually went there with a bunch of cash from a payment I couldn't make.
 
I roamed the hallways and looked into the stores and as usually the ones with low prices had a lot of people in them, the ones with expensive stuff had no one inside but the employees, how do those store survive?! I guess they can still make a good profit even when they put a 50% discount on stuff.
 
I went to the Tigo store and it was closed for remodeling. Crap, I wanted to remove my mom and dad's cellphones from automatic debit from my Amex BAC credit card. My dad and mom pay their cellphones but sometimes they time it wrong and Tigo ends up charging me and I don't have the hard to ask them for the money back. This last time they charge me AND my dad paid too. It was one of those rare days when both things go thru into the system. That was a month ago, this new bill my dad was expecting to pay nothing since the bill came about the same. But it was charge on my CC again! So Tigo explained to him that they send the bill amount to the CC company and that credits stay there until my dad would go pay manually to the bank, then it would be posted against his next bill. This was too much and he didn't want to cause me more trouble and asked if he could be removed from auto debit AND stay in the good plan we have. I had done this one time before with a cousin and apparently it had worked so I wanted to try it out.
 
The usual place where the Tigo store is located was being remodeled. I roamed around and made a note to get an ice cream cone when I was ready to walk back to the office. Suddenly a huge rainstorm could be heard outside so now I was sorta trapped in there.
 
I've been looking for a bluetooth headset for a while trying to get the lowest cost one with good sound quality. So I went into the many cellphone stores looking for prices. I found one headset that seemed good. I wasn't going to buy today but I asked if they would take credit card points. They said yes, and they also told me they took Tigo points!
 
Cool! I know my mom and dad's cellphones have a bundle of those under my name so I could use them. However I told them the Tigo store was closed. "Oh no, they moved to the first floor while this place is being repaired" , they said.
 
Even cooler, so I went down and I first took care of the cancellation of auto debit from my mom and dad's cellphones. That will help me kill that balance off now. I called them both and they said they were happy to finally have this fixed, AND they stayed in the plan which means I still call them for free.
 
Then I went on to gather my Tigo points and I had about Lps 1,300 worth, which was the price of the headset. I know I had used a ton of those points before getting cellphones from Tigo for free so I was happy the balance had gone up so fast.
 
So I did the usual paperwork and got the good headset I wanted. Most of the points came from mom and dad's cellphones which they were ok with giving to me since they only use their phones to talk so they don't need the latest one each year or any fancy accesories.
 
Then I went to the ice cream store, and I was about to pay when I noticed I had only a bunch of 1lps bills..I managed to gather the 20lps to pay (didn't want to break the other money I had for the payment I couldn't do).
 
I toured a little more but now I was a bit itchy to get my headset charged and start testing it. So I walked back to the office under a light rain and got here all soaked. I'm still drying up.
 
Cancelling my mom and car auto debit from my credit card was a good thing. Getting a BT headset for points (no money) was good too , no more hiding from the police when I talk and drive! And the ice cream cone was 20lps..so trip to the mall , window shopping, improving my debt burden, getting a nice bluetooth headset and an ice cream cone was a total of 20lps , about $1 . :-)
 
Still I meditated as I was walking thru the hallways how in the past I would've charged the headset first and would worry about how to pay it up later. This time I wasn't in a hurry to buy it, actually I have been shopping for one for months now. Only because I was able to use the Tigo points, which are good only for cellphones and accessories, did I actually buy it today. I had seen the same headset in another store there and was only comparing prices and was ready to walk back to the office without it with no remorse. I even actually had a credit card with me because I needed to bring my CC to cancel the auto debit. At no time was I thinking of using it to pay for the headset today. I did asked for a CC points balance and I had about 2500 points on it. That's when they told me I could use the Tigo points.
 
I'm putting the credit card back in my desk drawer now. I'm not tempted to use it but it's too bulky on my wallet now and it feels uncomfortable.. :-)
 
This for me was a good experience, how do you think I did?
 
 

Saturday, September 5, 2009

budgets and goals

I've made a budget, two actually. I made a budget for the money I receive from my morning job, most of which goes to paying debt, another part goes to my emergency fund and to my freedom account. And a small part goes to my wife, my girls and me to feel some reward from this job.
 
The other budget was a quick one I made for a one-off job that I got paid for and again most of it, about 80%, went to debt payment, 10% went to the accounts and 10% to us.
 
The sad thing about making the budget is realizing that the first fantasy budget doesn't cut it. Going thru the bills and looking at the minimum payments and writing a permament number (not the minimum otherwise I would never get out of debt) really cuts off the money left over for savings and for self-reward.
 
The good thing is that following the budget is a good way to remember to pay all bills and stop the collector's calls when I get behind on payments. It's also good because on a separate sheet I write the balance, the payment i make, the interest's i'm charged and the new balance.
 
So last thrusday I got paid on my morning job and othe one off job! Wow a ton of money in my hands. On previous years I would've blown half of it probably and paid with the rest and then would be getting calls for other payments that forgot to make. Not this time, I got all the money into my bank and made the payments online whenever possible and the using free ATM withdrawals took out the rest of the money to pay other cards and deposit on the accounts.
 
I have some money left that haven't paid yet. Unfortunately I still had forgotten about two bills, a small one and a larger one. Got called for both today, so i'm reviewing the remaining money and due dates, etc. to try and cover the minimum payments. It's sad to have to work it this way because I know I might pay both bills on monday but another bill will be left behind.
 
The good thing is that this bill left behind will be paid in parts from my morning and day jobs until I get it to date, probably by end of september.
 
 
Another good thing, looking at my balance on my Bac Platinum card I realize that my dollar balance is about $230. Strange because I thought it would be lower. I looked and they charged me $150 for the membership renewal. I'm going to ask them to reverse it, I did that for my citibank account and they reversed it even though my credit rating with them wasn't that good. Please wish me luck, or pray or send good fortune to me in the hopes they drop that $150 charge.
 
IF they do drop it I will be left with $80 to pay. And my budget for that balance is $100 that comes from the second payment of the month from the morning job. SO, on october 4th or 5th I should be putting that balance to ZERO! not yet but I can see it comming. IF they don't drop it then it will be another two months (I might get the $30 elsewhere just to get that thing to zero right away) but still within sight.
 
Next up is making the budget from my day job, which will include the house expenses and all the stuff I pay for which is not debt. I feel this is much easier to do now that i've done the first budget.
 
On the political front the US has put more pressure on our country to return the ousted president. They've cut all non-humanitarian aid, are not issuing any more visas to enter the US, are not willing to recognize the november elections at this point and might cancel visas to some 1,200 honduras liked to the interim government.
 
I hope that my morning job doesn't get affected by this, so far it hasn't been. I hope november comes quickly and we get elections. I hope the US at least recognizes those elections so things can return to normality on January with a new president.
 
Tonight Honduras has a soccer match with Trinidad and Tobago. I hope they win and raise our demoralized spirits. We thought the US was our ally and right now it doesn't feel that way, but I still have hopes they will eventually help us again. OR we learn to stand up on our own feet and fend for ourselves.
 
 
 
 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School

The good: Paid for all of my girls school supplies and tution fees with money saved, no credit card put on it. Cool!
 
The bad: Emergency fund almost wiped out, at least i'm rebuilding it as fast as I can. I didn't pay 2,400 lps due on the Bac Loan, I will pay it all next quincena.
 
The bad bad: Wife flunks another of her master's degree classes. Another Lps 2,600 down the drain. She is upset about flunking the class but says she doesn't deserve that grade and that it's everyone else's fault. In any case the school will probably let her take the class again with a simple online course, no test but they will sure want the $$.
 
Back to 6:30am drives to drop girls at school. Wife won't help because at that time she says she is not alert enough to drive safely.
 
Another good: I'm back on schedule with the Promerica loan which was the biggest payment.
 
Another bad: I'm behind on the Bac Loan, see above.
 
Another good: I now have a budget for the money I get from my morning job, most of it goes to debt payment. a small portion goes to wife, girls and me, and the rest is now budgeted for Emergency Fund and Freedom account. Specially since my emergency fund is almost depleted.
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Emergency fund refund and the Freedom Account

A week of vacation went by so fast and it really just meant working with a different window view as I worked the same hours but more on the morning job.
 
I had to do mayor car repairs and registration for the other car and unfortunately I had to dip into my emergency fund. So in order to re-fund it, I increase my automatic deposit into that account from 1000 lps to 1500lps.
 
Also this week i'm going to open my freedom account , which should be the one to have the money for the non-monthly expenses that I should know about. I'll start it off with 500lps and try to put 500lps into it every quincena.
 
I had a couple of tough love comments saying that I should face reality and put all my debts in one page, and keep track of my spending. Well I guess i needed that. I've opened a simple spreadsheet and the first credit card bill that came this month is already posted there and I will keep putting the others up as they arrive. As I'm covering for a coworker right now I can't go out to get some of the info I need to write it down faster (i'm writing this between tasks and calls).
 
I think I do need to write my debt down to make sure i'm actually moving forward to reducing it. I know that it's not increasing but on my HSBC card I'm not sure i'm reducing it as I would imagine.
 
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Freedom Accounts and recent events

I was reading this interesting article. One important point I got from it and it's so true with me is that when I add up my monthly expenses there is always a lot of money left and I wonder where it goes. Selective amnesia is what it's called. We forget the non-montly payments or those informal montly expenses (like hair cuts and daily grocery purchases).
 
They talk about setting up a Freedom account and I was surprised that basically that's what I was doing with an old account I have in Banco Atlantida. I was putting money in there to save for expenses on the big things that are comming like my girl's school tuition fees this August.
 
I will ask for another automatic deposit on that account. On my emergency fund I have authorized L 1,000 every 15 days. I will start funding my Freedom account with lps 500.00 every 15 days too. For some reason when it's under 1,000 I feel it is less of a hit.
 
Why did this jolted my mind? well I have to pay lps 3570 in registration fees for my wife's car by friday. this is a once a year payment. Then I have a lower one for my car in November. There's also the car repairs , actually maintenance that I've found out i'm not budgeting anywhere. In any case these are expenses that throw me a curve ball in my attempt to pay off all the money I owe. This time I will have to dip into my emergency fund to pay for the registration fees. But i've managed to put in more hours in my morning job (do you notice that i'm not here or even in twitter that much any more) and hopefully I will use some of that to take my emergency fund back to it's previous level in a month or two.
 
Other non-montly expenses are doctor visits, non-prescription and prescription meds not covered by my insurance. Books and other similars for my wife and kids. I hate to say etc because it means I don't remember other non-montly expenses, so i'll leave it at that and list more of those here when I have them in my mind.
 
On other topics the crisis in my country continues and even though we are living peacefully there is tension in the air on how this all will end. Directly to me it affects me because either my boss, my wife or myself make me waste time by talking about it. Who did what, what was discovered, another deep research article to read, etc.
 
As much as I support the cause, it takes about an hour or two of my day every day just to keep up with events, as I don't dare be in the dark about it. Just yesterday we had a meeting from 11am to 3pm, a four hour meeting we spend 75% of the time talking about the crisis, that's three HOURS, and about one hour actually talking about work stuff. I hate so much when my boss goes off in a tangent that way. I feel the minutes breezing away as he talks and the others talk back, probably just being polite. Then I had another meeting, and fortunately the work stuff was dealt with in the start and then the crisis talk took over and I excused myself and came to work...an hour later that meeting ended.
 
My morning job was delayed in sending my payment and I've had HSBC and Citibank calling me since last week about payments and until a few minutes ago I didn't have the money. So right now i'm off to keep both of them at bay.
 
I still haven't written down the numbers on the money I owe or the money I spend. I think sub-conciously I don't see the reason for it as I should know where my money is going. I know my credit cards are frozen. I know I don't carry then, they are cut up so I think deep inside myself I don't understand the reason to put up in a single page all the money I owe (once again), I think it might even discourage to look at the big number and feel that I can't overcome it. Same for the expenses, but I think that part would probably help me cut down (more!!) on them. My biggest problem is that my wife and to a lesser extend my girls are not on the same boat with me 100%, they are more like 50%. So it's hard each month because of that. How ironic, the oldest and the youngest women in my house try to get the most money from me. My oldest daughter doesn't ask me for money as much as my youngest daughter and my wife.
 
I've talked a little about this with male friends, coworkers and boss and they all agree that their wives are about the same, any money received they want a piece, a big piece (if not all of it). A bit of relief to know i'm not alone but no real help except facing the reality that I have to become a tougher husband and dad and say "NO" more often that i'm already saying now. I think that is the hardest part about my financial problems, having to face them mostly alone with little help from my family and thus I become a sort of enemy to them when I don't buy them what they want. Sad but that is my reality.
 
Anyway..I gotta go before they close. Otherwise I will get a call tomorrow. Off to owe less!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Emergency Fund

Well, I can't live every day of this political crisis expecting someone else to come fix my problems. So back to talking about the money I owe and the progress i'm making.
 
I have a lot of ideas about stuff to write, like how i'm failing miserably at keeping records of my expenses or making a budget. I mean a detailed budget, because I already have a general budget. I will post my "general" budget soon I just have to copy it from my cellphone's to-do list.
 
One thing I had to touch on today was the emergency fund. I was read the debt kid's http://www.debtkid.com/why-you-need-an-emergency-fund article about it and I felt myself on his shoes.
 
Previous I used to think I was missusing money by saving it on an emergency fund when I had outstanding debt. I should put every penny I could towards paying debt.
 
Then as it happens to everyone the unexpected would hit, a car repair, a higher than usual bill, someone gets sick ,etc. Any unplanned or overbudget expenses makes one whip out the credit card if you don't have other way to pay for that thing.
 
So the emergency fund came to be after considering that it would take me several years to get out of this debt and probably the money in the fund wouldn't be missed so much compared to the satisfaction of self-financing in times of crisis.
 
Two things have made my emergency fund grow now to about L. 7,000.00 ($350) . One is the automatic payroll deduction that goes straight into my emergency fund bank account. Two is the help of a dear friend in keeping for me the ATM card for that account and thus protecting me from the temptation to use it in non-emergency situations.
 
I have done something else. Every time I take money out of the emergency fund to pay for some emergency I make a note on a sticky note I keep on the savings book for that account. I have made a strong effort to repay the fund and not just let it organically grow thru the money I normally put on it from my paycheck.  Right now I have 1000lps to repay. This is down from the highest of 2800lps some time back.
 
I think if I were to advise someone on things to do to get out of debt I would say that an emergency fund should be one of the first things to do, even if it sounds like going against the nature of paying up debt. It took a lot of meditation of my part to convince myself to do it, and now i'm glad I did it to keep myself from pulling credit cards (which I have destroyed anyway!).
 
Think about it and take my advice..it's free.
 
 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hardship has it's privileges

It is strange, and then it's not.
 
Having a curfew makes one plan a lot more in advance. Having the curfew time change makes it hard to plan.
 
This week i've spent the most I remember. I didn't write down everything I spent but I know that I didn't spent much money because most stores where closed when I went home from work. That forced to cut on spending on snacks and stuff for my girls. I did buy medications for me and gas for my wife's car and 200lps on repairs to a manhole cover on the sidewalk of our garage.
 
My wife says that she spent more on groceries, but she hasn't asked me for money because she can't go around freely as she is afraid of driving into a protest either pro or against what is happening in our country.
 
And then today I got paid at my morning job. I immediately paid my loan with BAC and my platinum credit card with them too. Tomorrow I plan to pay my loan with Promerica and see how that leaves me. The other money I owe is my HSBC card and my loan with Citibank.
 
I haven't kept good records of my expenses, payments, income, etc. Trying to send messages to the world to let them know the truth about what's going on in my country in this time of crisis has taken priority.
 
However I have remained frugal even in times of urgency. Maybe not to the extreme but at least buying rationally and being creative.
 
I hope I can concentrate back on telling my finances to you as soon as possible. In the mean time I just hope that my country's crisis ends soon.
 
Thanks for your support

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Frugal in times of unrest in the country

Imagine not being sure if you will be able to buy gas or groceries tomorrow. Imagine if power is out and you are not sure when it will be back. Imagine if you don't know if there will be curfews that will restrict your travel to places you prefer to buy. You would be buying foods, probably fast foods, at any price. Filling up your gas tanks at the closest gas stations, buying groceries at any open store. Travelling long distances or waiting in long lines to buy things to supply your family with shelter, clothes and foods. Price comparison and buying frugally take a back seat to fullfilling the sense of protection and people turn to cover necessities at any cost.
 
Last week concluding today has been one that has had me with those fears in my mind. On thursday we were sent home early as things in our city were feared to turn chaotic and they didn't. Today sunday we had our president removed from post and the city panicked for a while. However order remained and so far there are no curfews.
 
How has this affected my debt plan? I am happy to say that for the most part it hasn't affected as much as I feared. We got paid on friday and we had filled our car's tanks as regularly scheduled.
 
We did have to go to another supermarket, not the lowest price that we usually go to, but not overtly expensive. We had to do that because the low priced one had no power today as all the city awoke with no power. We purchased about the same amounts of groceries we usually do. We didn't go to the wholesale supermarket today but we plan to do so later this week when we hope things get more back to normal. Thankfully the supermarket was not running out of most things and even though we had to stand in line at the register for about two hours we were able to purchase what we needed not at the lowest price but at least at an average one.
 
As power came back I was also relieved that I would be able to work this sunday for my morning job.
 
However, as the new president and the ousted president will probably clash this comming week, I fear that some of our freedoms and rights might suffer temporarily and will make me spend more money that I would usually spend.
 
So, if you think you have trouble being frugal, imagine living in a country that makes it even harder by changing the rules of the game from one day to the other.
 
Right now, I feel calm and in peace, but I ask you to pray for this to continue for my country, my friends, family and me.
 
Well, back to work now.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Its monday

I have a throat infection that was really bad last week, was a little bit better last week and it's the same this week.
 
I have a morning job in which the urgent tasks don't let me get to the important tasks. Urgent tasks like keeping internet available to the programmers when the main connection goes down...switching to the other provider is not easy. Important tasks like figuring out if we can reboot a box without locking everybody in or out of the office in phoenix. Important stuff like wondering how to remove Internet Explorer 8 and put Internet Explorer 7 back into a very busy server without disrupting service. I wonder if my boss is as patient with me as he seems to be. I sometimes feel I would've at least had a talk with myself. He's a really nice guy and I hate not completing the tasks he assings to me the same day.
 
I have an afternoon job on which we have several projects going on at the same time, fiber lines being installed at locations. Calling people to get access. People calling me for a meeting to look at their product. A team meeting to decide which company will get $250k worth of contracts for software and hardware. A new version of a system that at face value is the same as the previous one but requires a meeting with users to explain the subtle differences, oh and that one has a deadline to go live by July 1st, otherwise we will feel it when we try to get the monthly reports consolidated from the old and the new system. Topping this off is a boss that is a time-hog, he keeps me in his office to fix an email problem, but while I want to know what is wrong he is taking landline and cellphone calls, so I wait. Then he tells me war stories about the things he's done and the places he's visited. And we always go back to his farm. Then he asks me what I do with all the time at the office.
 
I have a side project with a cellphone repair company. It's an old piece of software that requires a couple of fixes here and there. They've used it for almost 7 years now and it's a monster to support. Early last year they fired their IT support guy, so guess who gets calls now when they can't connect to the application. Or when they can't find a backup that has 30,000 level 3 work orders. And they had the never to ask me to come in the morning cause at 6pm they already wanted to leave as I was searching for the files I would need to figure out if there was a chance to fix the problem later tonight.
 
Well at least I have work, it beats not having anything to do!
 
During the weekend my car leaked oil like crazy. The fix was so cheap but the oil was so expensive in comparison! Wife had a flat tire. Repair shop says I have to change all tires on that car soon..like in a month or so. It's a heavy car for the tires I think. Mine still has good ones and we bought them almost at the same time.
 
I have friends I haven't been able to call since two weeks ago when I said I would call them "tomorrow" and then tomorrow said "no, you are going to be neck deep in work...and sick too".
 
Well at least my morning job payment came and I was able to pay off my credomatic platinum card, finally paid off my extrafinancing on it. I was paying $315 for that. Now I only have $550 balance on that (on the dollar side) and about 90,000lps on the lempira side. The minimum payment on the dollar side will now drop from $350 to $95. That will allow me to pay off more debt in other places while slowly paying this one off.
 
I have tons of emails comming in and luckily most of it is spam. The other I read quickly and file or delete. I have avation news I haven't read since january and catching up will probably imply deleting every other email while I read some during my sleep or something.
 
Well at least it's monday, how bad could tuesday be huh? (I know I'm asking for it, I want to know how bad it can get).
 
Enjoy your monday

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 15th and 16th

June 15th
 
Medicines:
 
298.03 for Wife's
378.24 for Wife's and mine
30.75 for me (sore throat lozenges)
 
200lps for seamstress fees for my oldest daughter's uniform for graduation.
38lps for chicken burger for daughter and I as we went to pick up the new uniform
 
 
Still pending is my BP medication. which I think will be purchased tonight or tomorrow.
 
 
June 16th
 
50lps for youngest daughter to buy pizza at school during graduation ceremony.
14lps for sodas for lunch
7lps for gift bag for wife's class.
 
My wallet is empty right now, not a single lempira on it. I have mixed feelings about this. A relief of sorts (very easy to say NO!) but also a sense that I can't buy what is really needed. Every day I see something new.
 
Sent my invoice today for my morning job payment. Hope it comes thru on or sooner than friday.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More June 14th spending

50lps for oldest daughter
40lps for youngest
200lps for board game for the kids.
96lps for fabric softener
 
I started entering some numbers on the spreadsheet hoping to be able to use it on my cellphone. It is much harder than I thought it would be to use it on my cellphone. I need 40 hours on a day!
 
Today I stood my ground when we went to the mall with some of wife's friends. They went into a couple of stores with her and my daughters. Only thing I bought was the fabric softener. Little trinkets they bought on their own allowances. Even the fabric softener I decided to buy two one liter bottles for 96lps rather than the 3 little bottle for 147. One to pay less and two to try different scents instead of having to stick to one scent.
 
Ending the day without having completed the numbers in the spreadsheet. Tomorrow I have a normal working day so I should find some time then to start entering the first numbers from the blog posts.
 
 
 
 

June 13th and part 14th

Last night,
 
Bought kitchen containers: 102lps
Bought 10 pieces of chicken for the weekend: 219lps
Fueled my car: 430lps
went out with the whole family for a ride around the city, bought sodas for everyone: 56lps
 
Satuday:
 
bought lotto tickets: 30lps
Went out with the girls and bought some granitas: 110lps
Parking fee: 20lps
Paid 2699lps for wife's master's degree classes this month
Paid 300lps for wife's dress for tuesday 6th grade graduation ceremony
 
200lps at karaoke bar and dance club. We rarely go out but wife's classmates insisted. They footed most of the bill as they had the most drinking and eating there. Got to know two places. One is allright the other one not so much.
 
 
Sunday morning:
 
Breakfast: 45lps
Lunch: 207 with economy combos for the five of us. Dinner should be the leftover chicken from saturday.
 
 
Girls was a board game to pass the time, also the youngest one wants a shirt for the graduation ceremony. That is yet to be purchased.
 
Have I told you I dislike weekends? they really make my pocket ache.
 
 

Friday, June 12, 2009

June 12th

Last night:
 
99lps on a pizza, 70lps on burgers.
 
Today:
 
20 lps on semitas...here we go again buying daily. hmm
 
400lps for wife to buy "stuff". Includes food at the university, garden cleanup kids, and salon stuff.
 
600lps on radiator leak repair for my car. They tell me it's the last repair they can do to it, next time I will have to buy a used radiator for 2500lps. At least the price hasn't changed since two years ago when I asked for the price of it.
 
681lps to fill up my wife's car. It's payday for me and I try to fill up my cars on that day. Later tonight I will fill up mine.
 
My car has given me a lot of trouble lately. I think all of the problems had just accumulated over time and are manifesting themselves now. Boss says that I should get another car but right now it's not in my plans, not even close! I always feel a little depressed when my car is in the shop mostly because it's never totally fixed. There's always stuff they discover that I should fix soon. So I leave the shop with a fixed car but in my mind it still is not "completely" fixed. Right now I know my car needs a brake inspection, engine work and a tuneup. I was going to do the brake repair now but I might have to wait another week on it since this radiator stuff came out of nowhere.
 
Weekend is rolling around again and I hope not to spend much this weekend, I am definitely not buying pizza hut.
 
I'm starting on the spreadsheet and will go over the numbers I've recorded here. Steve suggested to write down the interests on credit cards. My main goal right now was just to figure out where my cash is going so writing down the interest on my credit cards as part of my expenses would be done at a later stage.
 
I hope to have the first 15 days in the spreadsheet for tuesday and post the totals here.
 
Placed 200lps extra on my emergency fund on top of the 1000lps that gets deposited there automatically every quincena. I did to start repaying some old withdrawals I had done from the the fund. I still owe the find 1500lps but I don't want to put too much of my own money there because it might make me dip into the fund unnecesarily.
 
186lps for two months service on my company cellphone (I had forgotten to pay it last month, its usually only $4 each month because I use it for intra-company calls only)
259.51lps for Electricity Bill.
494.13lps for Water Bill
87.38lps for landline 1
56.00lps  for landline 2
 
8000lps transfered to wife for: household supplies, groceries for the 15 days, maid payment, and her personal expenses. This is an item that I should have more control over but it's a difficult subject. Wife says she spends about 3500lps on groceries and pays the maid somewhere between 1000 and 1500lps each quincena. That would leave her with 3000lps for her personal expenses for 15 days. That includes fuel and food she buys for herself. However the 15 days are not over and she comes to me for money stating that she spent some money on X or Y thing for the house, me or the girls. When I ask her for detail report of her expenses she bucks and gets upset at me.
 
For example right now as I'm transfering the money she's going with my oldest daughter to buy her school shoes for her graduation. She will pay for the shoes from the money I just transferred to her but will want me to reimburse the purchase to her account. I will want her to pay it from her money because I already spent 500lps on the rest of the uniform. We will probably end up paying for it half and half.
 
Today she ask me for money three times, When I left home in the morning, after lunch and when she was dropping me off at the radiator shop. It really upsets me that she just asks me for 100lps each time and said that she spent it on this or that (when I get upset I don't listen to her that well). Just to end her nagging I gave her the money.
 
I was specially frustated today because I was spending money on car repairs again and I knew I still have to pay for her classes, people left and right were calling me for assistance..etc. It kinda overwhelmed me with a sense that I'm out there trying to hold the fort, trying to complete all my duties on both jobs and she's just interested in not being bored and knowing when i'm going to give her money.
 
She just called to know about the money and the money for the shoes. It went just as I described above and she was reminding me that she was going to pay for my daughter's hairdo for the graduation ceremony. I told her I was going to pay for half the shoes and half the hairdo. I think that if she wants more money from me she might give me higher price for the hairdo.
 
It sucks not being able to trust your spouse with money and having to fight them all the time about it. It's exhausting at times. That plus she gets upset when I work weekends and nights. It's like she doesn't relate the money she gets to the work hours I do. She has the 9 to 5 mentality that if i'm working so much how come she doesn't get more money. We get into arguments about debt every month or so and it's the same story over and over. I know it by heart by now.
 
Now the youngest daughter wants some clothes for the ceremony too. At least on this my wife sided with me and stated that she would just buy her a cheap shirt at the "Palacio de los NiƱos" store if I pay for it. I said I would if it's low priced and only the shirt. I know that store always has low prices.She said that the young one had enough clothes to go to the ceremony. Usually pay days lift my spirits but this time they haven't.
 
I feel like having a couple of beers today, something I rarely desire. The only uplifting thing is that i'm putting in a lot of hours on the morning job (working evenings and weekend) and next week I will probably get paid by friday.
 
I'm closing this now as I'm not in the mood to keep writing. Although I will keep track of the spending to post it tomorrow.
 
 
 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 11th

I now have  a rough design of my expenses spreadsheet. I will put the numbers in it over the weekend.
 
Last night I bought pringles for 47lps and some home supplies for 50lps
 
Today I spent 500lps on new uniform and accessories for my oldest daughter. They graduate from 6th grade using their daily uniform and the ones she has are kinda old and worn.
 
Spent 10 lps on the atm fees for that and spent 20lps on semitas for breakfast.
 
youngest daughter wants something like pizza or stuff to snack on for tonite.. there is a promotion on some fast food restaurants today but I will check it out cautiosly as i've known them to have tricky promos befores.
 
Hopefully monday I will have some totals for the first 15 days of June.
 
 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June 10th

Gave 20lps to my daughter for food while at school doing her graduation ceremony practice.
 
Paid 24lps to buy semitas for breakfast.
 
So far no calls for stuff from home.
 
 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

June 9th

Slow day.. woho!
 
Paid 50lps to recharge my digicel phone. I use that to join US conference calls with my morning job. The nature of the job allows me to do it from almost anywhere I can get online with my 3g cellphone and my notebook. Whenever im not at the local office of this job during the daily conference call I use my digicel phone to join the call from my car my other job, home, etc. A 30 minute call usually costs about 15lps, that's because for every 2 paid minutes, Digicel gives you 10 minutes free (US calls).
 
During lunch I gave 10 lps to my daughters to buy "churros" or candies.
 
They say they are out of soda because one of the 3 liter bottle had a hole and lost all the fizzle and even had ants in it. I'll write tomorrow what I but tonite.
 
A goal would be to have one day of no spending!
 
 

Monday, June 8, 2009

June 8th

I'm going to send this on tuesday because I know after work I have to stop by the supermarket to get some shampoo and some trashbags.
 
The day started with spending money to fix my car. The accelerator pedal was stuck in. That was quickly fixed but then they discovered something with the distributor.
 
70lps for the distributor cap, the shop had a rotor and they did some work on the carburetor to seat it down again, and supposedly "fix" stuff that I didn't know about.
Also the windshield wiper on my side had stopped working and with the rain it was difficult to drive this way. Some plastic thingies took me almost all morning to find and even though I neede only two I bought four in case they fail again. 60 lps for that.
 
shop charged me 350 for all the tiny things they did. The car is not running smoothly but I think I have to take it to a carburetor shop for a tune up. This mechanic warned me that I was going to require some engine work on the car soon because the radiator water had some oil in it. They said to budget about 1500lps for that. ARRGH.
 
So far nothing more this monday but I haven't gone to the supermarket yet. Opps almost forgot about the 10lps from the ATM fee and the 50lps I gave my girls for their last day o school today.
 
A coworker picked up the stuff by the supermarket and brought it to me at the office. He said he would look for the recipt tomorrow.
 
 

June 7th

Sunday was another run to do some bill payments:
 
I thought I had paid my Credomatic loan but apparently I didn't hit OK and a call from their collection dept got me up from bed. Paid 2500lps that were still pending to pay (had paid 3000 before june).
 
I paid the last 600lps towards the graduation party of my oldest daughter.
 
Paid 3000lps to my citibank Arranged payment plan (pending 2900lps for this month)
 
I put money aside to pay for the August payment of my girl's school. They have two payment options, one has a large first payment and lower monthly payments spread over 11 months. The other one has 10 equal payments that a a little higher than the montly but much lower than the first payment. Since the school gives me discount on all the payments except the first one I'm picking the one with the lower first payment since both options add up to the same yearly total to start and for me it means more of that total will be covered by the discount.
 
Spent 70lps on Marquesote bread for breakfast
 
Wife asked me about the 14th month bonus and complained that I didn't give her any part of it. Instead of the larger sum she wanted I gave her 1000lps and went to the HyperPaiz to buy some things for the house. 747.75 lps was the total there for some dishes, clothes, soda, and towels.
 
Also fueled her car, 389lps to fill it up.
 
The girls wanted some food while we were shopping, 138lps on that.
 
And then on the way back my car broke down. Brother helped me by towing it back home.
 
They could make up their mind on what they wanted for dinner and I had to invite my brother and my nephew. Spent 500lps on dinner. That's a lot , damn Pizza Hut is expensive but was the consensus for this time. I'm not buying Pizza Hut again in a long time.
 
I spend a lot of money on weekends. I've known it for a long time. I hope to get that spreadsheet going now that I have the numbers. It's been hard trying not to forget anything since small purchases and those without receipt are easy to forget. Also the girls ask for one to five lempiras and that get's lost in the shuffle.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 6th

Spent 100lps on engine compartment was today, as usual I had trouble starting the engine afterwards. This time it wasn't the washer's fault. I flooded the engine and had to use some carb cleaner to remove the gas and start it. Last time I washed the engine I had to replace the distributor cap as it got cracked (That was over 5 years ago). Yeah I don't like to wash my car's engine. Now we'll see what else leaks from my car.
 
Spent 300lps on washing machine supplies: a bottle of liquid detergent and a tub of powder detergent. That should last for a looooong time since we plan to use mostly for jeans, towels and bed sheets and similar large pieces of fabric. Our daily clothes will still be washed by hand while we have a maid.
 
Gave 200lps for gas to wife.She's going out to see some friends and I had used her car all mornings that I had my own car in the shop. I might fuel my car today too.
 
Going out to pay some bills now.
 
Paid 7000 to my HSBC credit card.
 
Atm fee of 10lps.
 
70lps for fruit shakes for both my daughters. Gave them also their allowance of 30 and 40 lps.
 
Paid 16lps of parking fees.
 
179lps of a Keri body lotion offer (two regular bottles and a travel size one). We all use it in the house and were running out of it.
 
Fueled the car with 495lps. Stupid pump allowed my tank to overfill and I spilled about a cup full of gas into the gas station grounds. It was raining heavily so it went away with the water runoff.
 
Recharged my food card with 300lps at Pollo Campero and got a family pack of 8 pieces of chicken, 4 fries, 4 breads, and a 1.5 lt soda. The recharge gave me 2 extra pieces of chicken. Unfortunately I didn't notice that I forgot the soda at the restaurant until I was home. It was raining heavily and the streets were flooded and so I didn't went back to get it. Spent 30lps to buy a 3 liter soda.
 
The 15ft extension cord I couldn't return it because they had already opened the pack at home.
 
On weekends I usually spend more money. As I was running errands with the girls today I said "no" about a thousand times to all things they wanted. just gave them the fruit shakes.
 
Today our soccer team is having a match against the US soccer team. Right now it's the second half and we are tied 1 - 1. Let's see how it ends.
 
We lost. Tough luck.
 
 

Friday, June 5, 2009

June 5th

Last night I spent:
 
23 lps on soda
60 lps on candles
38 lps on snacks
 
Today I spent :
 
610 lps on car repairs to my car. Changed the bendix, fixed the leaky fuel hose, got the battery housing secured and replaced a leaky oil warning bulb and added a quart of oil. Tomorrow I want to to an engine compartment wash to get it all cleaned up so any other leaks and loose attachments. The radiator will soon require some work but it's been holding for a long time now with regular checks and topping off the water. Will check the battery tomorrow too (free!).
 
Paid 5850 of tuition for my girl's last month in school. I managed to save the bus charge of 1920lps by driving them myself even if I have to get up at 6:30 to drive them. It makes the day last longer and I enjoy sunday mornings sleeping in :-) . Got the prices for next year and they don't make me happy. They do have two payment options and there might be an advantage for me on one option versus the other one. I will write about that when I confirm i'm eligible for the second option.
 
I noticed that I haven't included any ATM withdraw fees. Since monday i've spent 20lps in ATM fees (10lps each). I have two debit cards, Ficohsa and Credomatic. Ficohsa charges 10lps each time. Credomatic is free on their own ATMs for the first five transactions of the month. I was going to use it today to get the money for my girls but I hadn't transferred from my dollar to my lempira account so I had to go into the bank to withdraw dollars and sell them there.
 
Spent 325 on two heavy duty extension cords for the washing machine. The orange ones. I bought a 25ft cord first and as I was walking to the counter I was wondering if 25ft was going to be enough. So I started thinking about getting a 40 or 50 foot cord. Then I saw a 15 foot cord there and thought that if the 25 was enough I could use the 15ft cord to better organize my rollaway computer desk. So the plan was that if I needed both for the washing machine then it would be ok. If I could get away with using just one then I could use the other one for something else around the house. I didn't want to go home and not be able to get the washing machine working today because of a few feet of electric cord.
Besides when I added the price of both cords it was the same price as a single 40 ft cord.
 
In the end the 25 foot was just about right with about only one foot to spare and placed in a way that it wouldn't disturb traffic or cleaning in my girls room. As I started writing this I began to wonder if I really should use the other cord or should I try to return it to the hardware store. The 15ft cord was 145lps. Don't know if they would give me the money back or if they would want me to buy products from them. I will try to return it tomorrow. I have the receipt here and the cord is still in it's original packaging unopened.
 
I'm now trying to write this during the day to keep better records. During the weekend I will go back to my posts and try to put a spreadsheet together that I can update on my phone, it has mobile excel and so I can do that :-) woho!
 
I do like the description of my spending because it makes me take a second look at what I've spent money on. I see i'm having a "bad luck" week with the cars and the washing machine installation. However i've noticed that I've bought snacks almosts every day when I really didn't think about it that much before.
 
Paid 8020 on my Promerica payment plan. That was payment #11 of 36 all of same amount, although I am about 15 day behind schedule and so I get a few calls to set up a payment date. I have been improving as I was 30 days behind schedule before.
 
Well, the "golpe de estado" (military taking over government) rumors have me going home early and not stopping for much so that's the good side of that. The bad is that I probably won't be able to fuel up my car as wanted to do today after the repairs. We'll see what tomorrow brings.
 
PS...it's just rumors, right now everything is pretty normal here, but tensely so.
 
 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

June 4th ....got paid!

got my 14avo from day job and got paid on my morning job. Got to resist the urge to burn that money.
 
Today I spent 200 on fuel for wife's car. 350 on fuel for mine (ran out of fuel today! luckily it was near a gas station).
 
Gave the girls 20 lps to buy snacks at school.
 
Spent 75 on coffee and donut tonight for me and the night shift operator. He regularly lets me eat from his pringles and drink his soda. So i decided to return the favor.
 
Paid about 2600lps to my loan with credomatic. Tomorrow is credit card pay day. I get a great feeling of acomplishment when I pay my credit cards and my loans, like i'm making progress.
 
My car smells like gas and I think it has a leak in a hose somewhere..so I called the mechanic and told him to bring the Bendix on the morning since I can't drive it with a leak (fumes make me dizzy if I'm idling too long in one spot). I'll have to spend at least 500lps on repairs again. I think my cars know my pay schedule!
 
Do your appliances /cars /house know your pay schedule?
 
 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June 3rd , more car repairs

Spent 350lps repairing the starter engine on my car so I don't have to push it to start it anymore. However the mechanic says I have to change the Bendix on it , so i'm looking at a 300lps part to change in a week or less otherwise I will get stuck again.
 
Spent 100lps on food for the house (actually it was coke, semitas aaaand some other foods that I can't remember).
 
Last night I also spent 20 lps on peanuts , 20 lps on candles, wife lits candles to saints to get help getting a job I guess.
 
My daughter just called and asked me for peanuts again , the ones I bought yesterday were not the ones she likes although she ate them anyway. She told me where to find them and I hope I do and be done with that so tomorrow she won't ask for more stuff (yeah right..more like I will say no tomorrow).
 
I'm really tired of waking up at 6:30am, wife has been having headaches from something and only gets better at night but if she goes to bed too late she also gets them. I'm just tired. The good thing is that the girls are almost done with school, probably next week or so. Oh and i'm picking them up too so i'm saving about 2000 lps this month just by doing that, specially since half of the month they will already be home all day anyway.
 
I worked a lot on both jobs today so I hope I can just watch tv tonight and go to bed...arghh.. I forgot I gotta do some programming..it's easy and I might not get to it but i've been begged to finish it soon. So i'll give it a shot and see how much I can do in 30 minutes or so.
 
The more I write about my expenses the more I recall money spent. For example money for breakfast or late at night was escaping my mind the first day. I'm already designing a spreadsheet on my mind to put the expenses in some way that gives senses to it. MMM maybe I can open a spreadsheet on my phone and write on it. We'll see.
 
Have a good night