Here's another one...one, eleven, eleven...I love those crazy dates.
This year has been so smooth...my program (at work) re-launched with stores looking perfect (knock on wood)...no issues, all products, correct pricing - SO much better than last year.
Mark and I went on a date...like a WHOLE NIGHT BY OURSELVES date! My parents took all five kids overnight for us. Yes, all five. We are so appreciative of them for that. We used some of our Christmas gift cards to have a yummy dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, coffee at Caribou, followed by watching the Black Swan. AND THEN the best thing happened. We went home to a quiet house and talked and dreamed and even kissed a couple times :-) without interruption.
Here's the update on Operation Buy a House - I'm going to be brutally honest on this blog - because I want people to realize that you don't need to be rich with perfect credit to own a home. But you can't go around racking up bills that go unpaid and shred your credit so that you are not credit worthy at all. We had a tough go for a long time - with the five kids and most of the time a single income (our choice). Our credit did suffer. Not because we intentionally "screwed the system" or anything, just life happened. I love our lender. So many times when you have questionable credit - it's embarrassing to reach out to anyone and get the help you need. It's embarrassing to admit that you haven't done so well with finances. I'm in a good spot now - I love my job, the pay is great and we've been working on paying all of our bills ON TIME and not letting things go. We have tightened the belt with spending - thrifting, reusing, repurposing, green cleaning - all of these things have helped tremendously (so everyone thinking it is expensive to be "green" I have to disagree). Our lender pulled a copy of our credit report and gave us a plan to focus on 4 items: one medical bill, two small credit cards and one large card. By getting these 4 items in the right spot...it should put our credit in the right range. The good news: we paid the medical bill (sweet) - I contacted the company, got their address, the total of the bill, and a reference number. I made out the check and envelope (with stamp and everything) - even though I wasn't ready to pay...at - that - moment. However, as soon as I got a little money in my bank account, I popped the envelope in the mail. Then, there were no excuses - I HAD to account for that money being out of my account. I sent it out; however, it didn't end there. I became pro-active about my credit. I called the company to confirm that they did in fact receive the payment, asked if they could send me a receipt that the account was paid in full and asked them how quickly they would note that the account was positive on my credit report (30-days from payment). NICE!
We took another step forward and then one back (hey, it happens). We had made a large payment to one of the smaller cards - enough to put that card in the right range...YAY! But then our daughter's car broke down and she needed a temporary loan - of course we are going to help when/if we can. It took our entire payment (plus a little more...plus all of her money) to get her car fixed...OY! I'm so glad we could help her though.
Our reprieve...INCOME TAXES!!!! That's right people, I'm an income tax nerd. I've been stalking my company's ADP website - waiting for them to post last year's W2 forms. Guess what! They were posted! I immediately hopped onto TurboTax, completed my taxes and e-filed...I'm hoping to have the return by the end of Jan. (according to the IRS the first payout is 1/28...fingers crossed). So how much are we expecting? While I won't share the actual amount here - I'll just say that it's enough to put the two smaller cards into the range that our lender suggested AND take the larger card down about 1/2 way...NOT TOO SHABBY...
We'll spend the next couple of months taking every extra penny and putting it toward that large card...my nemesis. You want to know the strangest thing about this card though? The lender told us to not completely pay it off...to keep a balance on there. The reason: because we had previously closed the card, with the intention of paying it off...if we pay it completely, they will stop reporting our consistently on-time payments - so we get it low enough to be reasonable, not too high of a balance...once we buy the house, we can pay it off completely.
I'm expecting a yearly bonus in March/April of this year too...so that will go where it needs to - perhaps to pay toward the card?? perhaps to the bank, saving for closing costs...or the "what if"?? Our lender said she was working on getting us into a 100% financing program (I'm a first-time home buyer, female, looking to buy a small farm...lots of things working on my behalf); however, I still want to have money in the bank for a number of reasons...what if we find the PERFECT house and it is just a couple thousand outside of our lending approval amount??? What if we find the PERFECT house...except it needs appliances??? We just want to be prepared. Having our nest egg for Fresh Eggs Farm is a necessity for us. So things are looking good folks! I've been struck with the barnheart bug....
...Oh! After proof reading this, I seem to be saying "me" and "I" a lot - I don't want to sound like I am on my own here...Mark is of course along for every twist and turn of the ride...However, since he is currently not working, the loan will (most likely) be in my name...We are for sure in this completely together, we dream together, we work out every detail together...we agree to look at every house together, walk through the threshold together...and I can't wait.
Today, I leave you with a little house porn...these two make my heart pitter patter...
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