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2013 Challenges from MikeS

The following is another guest post from long-time reader and commenter, MikeS.  You can also check out his Reader Profile, It Was Supposed To Be A Typical Wednesday, Flexibility – The Key to a Working Budget, and Unprepared.

Hi again everyone.  Since I was inspired by Crystal’s lists to start 2013, I thought I would write about some of the financial challenges I expect to be facing this coming year.  It may help some to know that they are not alone in dealing with financial problems.

Debt

With this, I’m not talking about my house, or even my car, although I would love to get rid of both.  I am talking about the leftover debt from my son’s medical bills, about $5,000.  It is currently sitting on a credit card at 0% through the end of March 2013.  The best case scenario for eliminating this is my company’s incentive bonus in March.  I have received bonuses in the past that could easily cover this amount.  Last year however, the bonus would not have been enough.  It was a rough year for the company.  So, I’m going to hedge my bets in case the bonus is not enough.  I can transfer the balance to another card at 0% through January 2014 for only $100.  I don’t really like it, but it gives me some flexibility which might be needed, see below.

Family

With this, I’m not talking about my son.  I am talking about my mom.  Late last year, she was diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy.  I love my mom, but she has not always been a good money manager.  I have had to help her out occasionally in the past with money.  So, she doesn’t have the extra money that her treatments are costing her.  My brother, sister and I are covering the extra expense.  What the means for me is $140 a month.  Luckily, I changed positions in my company on 1/1 and received a raise for a little over $2,000 a year.  That raise takes care of the additional monthly expense, but not anything else that might arise.

Expenses

Specifically, I mean finding more places to trim the current cost of things.  I’m running out of places to save money.  I refinanced my mortgage last year and was able to free up over $150 a month.  My wife and I changed to Tracfone cell phones and saved over $40 a month.  I’ve locked in both my oil price and electric rate for the year, which will be lower than last year.  My insurance portfolio was recently updated, but I might price out my auto and homeowners this year to see if I can squeeze some more savings out of them.  My TV/Phone/Internet are locked in until August.  There aren’t many other places for me have a major impact.

Those are my three biggest issues entering 2013.  What are your big concerns for the year?

Crystal’s Comments:  Sorry to hear about your mom too.  I think you mentioned it in passing before, but I did not realize her children were covering the extra costs.  Good luck.  As for your plans, I know you’ll get the $5000 paid off no problem.  You may want to look into extra income instead of expense cutting at some point. 

Not a joke at all – are any of my blogger readers looking for a staff writer?  Mike is an excellent writer and one of the first people I’d hire if I do open that door.  Just email me to get connected with him.  :-)

Anyway, good luck Mike!  You have all of my very best wishes for continued success and better family health!  :-)

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7 comments to 2013 Challenges from MikeS

  • Have you accounted for the 2% social security tax increase? That could easily erase a $2,000 raise. I hope you did but if not now you know.

  • MikeS

    Thanks Lance. I had already anticipated that expense. That’s where my mortgage refinance savings ended up. I didn’t close on the mortgage until the end of October, so I never really budgeted the extra cash. I was stressing a bit until the federal budget deal was reached last week. I wanted to know what my paychecks for January were going to look like. :-)

  • @ Lance – Darn you Fiscal Cliff!

    @ MikeS – Very noble of you to help your Mom! I do something similar here and there with my Grandma. You’re in a hard spot that I think a lot of people hit = Trying to squeeze water out of a rock when it comes to the expenses. My advice would be to see what’s out there as far as taking on extra writing gigs. A lot of the other blogs I read report as much as $4000 per month in side income from blog and free-lance writing activity.

  • I prefer T-Mobile’s $33 a month plan. You get 1500 minutes/texts per month. I switched my parents from tracfone to T-Mobile.

  • MikeS

    @My Money Design – Thanks. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t help. My initial thoughts on where the money was going to come from included my fun money, until the raise materialized. I’m realizing the extra income thing is probably my only option.

    @Savy Financial Latina – Is the $33 for one phone or 2? My wife and I don’t really use our phones much, so I’m only budgeting $25 a month for both of them. I’ll be surprised if we use more than 100 minutes a month on each phone.

  • Our challenge for this year is to pay off the last few hundreds left on our personal loans within the first quarter, and purchase a bigger home for the family within the second quarter. We have been saving up for the down payment since last year and we need to find the new home before summer, before the next school year starts. The kids are also asking for a bigger and more spacious car. Since our old car is still in good running condition, we may decide to buy a new car until we have saved up enough to buy it in cash to avoid two mortgage payments.

  • […] that I was signed up more than 10 years ago and grandfathered in…Guest Posts at BFSMikeS with 2013 Challenges from MikeSReader Profile Friday – Single Moms IncomeOne Smart Dollar with Stick-to-It ResolutionsReader […]