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Free of bank debt

January 4th, 2020 at 04:58 am

Finally!!! I paid off the bank (this was old credit card and interest debt) Now, I am NOT debt free... part of the money to pay the bank came from loans from the employee cooperative. BUT, the interest rate is half of that of the bank, and, since this is deducted before my salary is deposited into my account, I cannot default on it!
Soooo... this year will be a year of buying a lot of stuff. In the past 5 years, whatever broke was not repaired or replaced. Now there are a lot of things to be repaired or replaced. Starting with the car! (which is now a necessity, since Ale switched universities and the other one is NOT within walking-distance of our home, and, no matter what the government figures say, crime is still thriving -- and I don´t want to revisit our last experience on a bus, where the driver caused Ale to be thrown off the bus when she was getting out... AND, to go to this new university, Ale would need to take 2 buses, and the point for changing buses is the largest shopping mall in the country --and one where there have been lots of muggings and even kidnappings)
What would be our first "free" payment, then, will go towards fixing our car (hopefully, it CAN be fixed...don´t know what we will do if it can´t... we don´t have enough money for a **new** car, and, right now, I wouldn´t be eligible for a loan, not for a year at least)
so, this is where we are.
We made a list of all needs/wants. And then we put all the info on paydays and fixed expenses on a year planner. Once we had that, we prioritized needs/wants, and started slotting them into the paydays where I would have paid the bank. Ale thinks its stressful, but I tell her it should give her peace of mind to know that we know what we can do and what we cannot do (not all wants made it into the calendar)
All income from translations will go into a separate bank account, for a new (to us) car either in June or November (I get 30% of my year bonus in June, and the remaining 70% in November)
The plan is to save $100/month, sell the old car and use the bonus to try to purchase a new car. If possible, we would do this in June, if not, we will do it in November. I know that waiting until November would mean getting a better car, but, even if it can be fixed, I don´t know if the old car would make it to June.
Wish us luck!

Gas stations in El Salvador: Cash only, please!

May 30th, 2011 at 07:31 pm

Well, as of tomorrow, gas stations in El Salvador will no longer accept credit or debit cards. They claim that their profit margin is to slim and that credit card companies and bank fees reduce it even further.

I have been purchasing gas with my debit card, so the adjustment wont be that much, but...

Oh, and regular gas is now $4.49/gallon.... premium is $4.64... Took $47 to fill my gas tank...YIKES! Back in December, when I made my budget for this year, I could fill it with $30, so I budgeted $45, to account for climbing prices, etc... guess I have to start budgeting $50! ... wow, everything is on the rise, except for my salary, of course...but thats a whole other entry!

paid off the car!

November 3rd, 2008 at 04:47 pm

woo-hoo! finally, the car is really, truly, honestly MINE!!!...I finished the last payment on it!!!

The car

October 28th, 2008 at 03:48 pm

well, besides the work that I KNEW had to be done... it was having trouble starting in the mornings, and the brakes had a raspy sound... so I asked the workshop to check on that, too... turns out one sensor in the engine needed changing, and they had to replace a brake pump, which was leaking brake fluid (lovely!)... total was $850... (the work I KNEW about was $490)... well, there goes the emergency fund! ... oh, well, that's what it's there for... but, honestly, if I get another bill like this before the end of 2009, I will start thinking about buying a new (to me) car! I seriously hope not!
Boom-boom has been a really good car so far... it's only that he's being driven a lot more lately! (I know cars are "she's" in English, but, to me, it's "el carro", so it's a "he"!)

New tires

June 25th, 2008 at 04:55 pm

I noticed yesterday that we will soon need new tires for the car...and today there was an ad stating that tire prices will go up starting July 1st...I guess I HAVE to go tire shopping this weekend! (or, rather, that I need to have niece sit down with the yellow pages this week so that I can go buy tires on the weekend!) know what is great?
1) I DO have available credit, so I COULD put it on my cc...
You know what is greater?
2) I DO have enough cash available that I won't need to do that!!!
Such an amazing feeling! (of course, there are things I was planning to buy with that money, but they are not urgent, so they'll just have to wait!)

First expenses of the year!

January 3rd, 2008 at 03:26 pm

had to pay for the security co. at our neighborhood ($15) and for gas for my car today ($36.31)....gas was expensive today, but, it should last a bit longer since Ale doesn't go back to school until next Monday (so, 4 trips less) and church group is out until next weekend (1 trip less)...Niece is also on vacation, and is not working at the moment, so....

car trouble!

November 22nd, 2007 at 11:57 pm

I was on my way to pick up Ale when the car started overheating...took it to the nearest gas station...the radiator was dry!...I just checked it about a week ago (when filling the tank)...they filled the radiator with water and I drove it all the way back to our neighborhood (theres a good workshop one block from my house) Needless to say, the car has to stay overnight (it was already 4 pm when I finally got here!) ....I told them the car had overheated and, theyll check it...theyll also do the oil change and I asked them to check the brakes (I check them every 6 months) while theyre at it....

((sigh)) theyll call me tomorrow to tell me what it is, how much its going to cost and how long its going to take!...wish me luck!


November 4th, 2007 at 01:39 am

One of the larger jobs was not paid yet. I spent: $1.30 for traditional candy at the mall (Ale begged and, since she can't eat the colored ones at the moment, I gave in!), I also went to the toy store and, I found a bike that was a bit more expensive, but had 18 rim tires, so it's bigger than the ones I had seen before and, will last her longer. She tried it and she can use it - it does have training wheels!...we can pay it with 25% downpayment and 3 installments without paying interest, so I paid ~$25 also bought the protective gear...I separated $6 for our vegetables tomorrow (change) and, put the remaining $$$ in a safe place, so I don't have it with me today and tomorrow (so I cannot spend it!)...on MOnday I'll deposit it and start working on the payments!...oh, and it seems my car may need a new battery (it refused to start after I dropped cousin off!...luckily her neighbor is a mechanic and he was just arriving at the same time, so he looked at it and, used the jump cables to start my car!)...that could cost me about $60-$75....I have to look on the bright side: while that means less money towards debt, at least I HAVE IT!...if this had happened last year, for example, I would have been in BIG trouble (and would have had to incurr new debt to get it!)...If this had happened before we went to the toy store, I might have backed down on the bike!, but, I'm already committed now (else I lose part of my $$$)...I also have to buy some more medicines for Ale, to finish her treatment...part of that is reimbursable, though, big loss there...
Oh! and the guys from the translation agency warned me that there's "a TON of work coming really soon" and to check whether any of my friends were willing to do translations, as they might have more work than their current pool of translators can handle!..that is sweet news, indeed!!
it was a good day!!!
minor detail I was forgetting! I owe $322 to my friend who helped me with one of the large translations! duh!...I'll go take that out of my stash RIGHT NOW!

Isn't this sad?

August 22nd, 2007 at 09:48 pm

I was thinking today how I'm spending about $60/month instead of $40-$50 on gas now that niece is taking Ale to school (sis puts in another $20/month), but that it's still positive because I'm not paying the $30 for the transport, so in reality I'm spending $60 vs $70-$80...and then I thought it's good that gas is cheaper now because it's "only" $3.14-$3.20

AND THEN I remembered that it wasn't so long ago when I felt that gas was "super-expensive" when it reached $3!!!

isn't that sad??

Wants vs needs- updated

August 13th, 2007 at 08:27 pm

let's see how I'm doing, shall we?

NEEDS: ($150-$200 for ALL)
Uniforms for Ale (including shoes, socks)-taken care of! just waiting for the skorts!
Oil change for the car - done!
New windshield wipers (rainy season!!)..they didn't have them, will have to go to another shop
New dictionary for translations.(not URGENT, but IMPORTANT!...if Im to get serious about the translations, I need the right tools!)

WANTS: (about $100-$150 for ALL)proud to report I haven't indulged in any of these!
New curtain for my bedroom (I wonder if I could find a cheap sheet in the right color downtown...I've seen sets for $5...)
New clothes for me just because my older clothes have started disintegrating!!...will move these from want to needs in about 3 months...should start budgeting for it!
New shoes same as above
1 day of relaxation at the beach maybe in December??


August 10th, 2007 at 06:29 pm

since I don't have enough to pay EVERYTHING I have to pay for (until the translation money comes), then I prioritized my payments and, between today and the 15th I HAVE to pay:

Ale' school
oil change

what will remain pending for the time being is:

personal loan
car loan

not too bad....not great, but much better than before!

Recent Wants vs Needs- revisited

August 7th, 2007 at 06:42 pm

let's see how I'm doing, shall we?

NEEDS: ($150-$200 for ALL)
Uniforms for Ale (including shoes, socks)-taken care of! all I need are the socks!
Oil change for the car - scheduled for the 11th/aug
New windshield wipers (rainy season!!)..will see if they have them at the place where they do the oil change{/b]
New dictionary for translations.(not URGENT, but IMPORTANT!...if Im to get serious about the translations, I need the right tools!)

WANTS: (about $100-$150 for ALL)[b]proud to report I haven't indulged in any of these!

New curtain for my bedroom (been using an old sheet and, frankly, it does nothing for the room!...and, since we have been decluttering-reorganizing, Ive started to feel that it would look SOOOO much better with something nicer, in a different color)

New clothes for me just because my older clothes have started disintegrating!!...I still have enough to make do for a while, though, so not really a need!

New shoesafter all, we HAVE been going to all those shoe stores! LOL!...dont worry, I wont give in so easily! (although if I find a bargain like last year, Hush Puppies at $10, I will probably get them!)

1 day of relaxation at the beach during these holiday period (4 days) not likely to happen

Easy come...

May 4th, 2007 at 11:39 pm

I finally went to get my severance check and, it turned out it was more than I thought it would be ($600 instead of $200!)...BUT, regulations required me to endorse it to the employee coop due the loan I have with them... Frown I had much better use for that $$ (applying it towards higher-interest debt!)....oh, well, at least that means I owe the coop nearly $1,300 instead of nearly $1,900!!... gotta look on the bright side, right??

061228 - 2006 goals update

December 28th, 2006 at 04:02 pm

1. keep better track of my spending- managed to stay within budget this month (barely!)...we still have to buy the stuff for New Year's Eve, but, I still have $79 "left over" for that...

4. continue to lower my overall debt - I started Jan 05 with ~$17K (out of which ~$4K were for a loan and the rest -~$13K!-pure cc debt) and, am starting Jan 06 with $~11K (with ~$8K for a loan and ~$3K in cc debt)... expect to be able to end Dec '06 with ~$7K, which I expect to be purely for the loan... to come partly from the English classes/$20 challenge. ...current situation is: $12.9K total: ~$7.9K (refinanced) loan, ~$2.6K car loan, ~$609 personal loan, $1.3K other personal loan Phone bill is $200...$600 on a cc for toy/school supply sale expenses (pending full payment in Jan)


December 19th, 2006 at 07:47 pm

...I am the "administrator" for our expat houses...that means I deal with landlords/landladies and process all payments...homeowners are supposed to bring me their receipts/invoices for processing...there's this one house that has the landlady from hell...she's very disorganized, doesn't want to pay for repairs, is late in paying security fees (eventhough we pay it every month as part of the rent!) is just easier for me to type/print her invoices and just ask her to come and sign them every 3 or 4 months than it is to explain to her every month that her payment hasn't been processed because she hasn't brought the invoices!...well, today she came to sign the first invoices for 2007...she gave a Xmas gift: a cheque for $30!...I didn't even look at the cheque, she said it was: "a little something", so I just thanked her and pocketed it...I certainly didn't expect ANYthing...much less $30!...I'm off to the bank to cash it...then off to yet ANOTHER bank (across the street) to put it towards a cc!...this one definetely goes towards the $20 challenge, because it was so unexpected!

DONE! Smile

Xmas bonus came and went!

December 14th, 2006 at 06:36 pm

things I paid:
1 month's rent (I was behind with my payments)
personal loan
nanny's Xmas bonus! (well, I haven't paid THAT yet, but I will tonight!)

We still haven't collected all the toy money, from that I will pay:

Ale's bed
Xmas dinner

From the translation:
new tires for the car
infamous phone bill ($150)

From the toy supply sale:
Ale's school
car maintenance (brakes and shockabsorbers)

Payment due from cousin (!)
infamous phone bill
Ale's school
additional bedding set for Ale's bed

Hopefully, everything will go according to plan!

another $100 for December

December 8th, 2006 at 02:19 pm

managed to collect $100 more! woo-hoo!

$100 for December's $20 challenge

December 7th, 2006 at 04:57 pm

just typing it so I don't forget to add it! $100 for admin services from JULY!!!...

Update on $20 challenge for November

November 30th, 2006 at 10:12 pm

Total for November
Challenge statistics:
to discount from challenge this month:

Earned in September: $250.00

net for January: $12.15
net for February: $318.40
net for March:$380.00
net for April: $222.00
net for May:$336.86
Net for June: $32.50
Net for July: $210.00
Net for August: $835
Net for September: $430.00
Net for October: $434.00
Net for November: $250.00
Total ytd for 2006 (net):$3,460.95

TARGET: $4,000

$539.05/ 1 month to go!'s looking tough!...still, I really didn't expect to be able to make more than $2,000!

$50 to add to the $20 challenge for Nov

November 29th, 2006 at 10:58 pm

got paid $50 today...this is still paying for admin services for July!

$80 for the $20 challenge in November

November 23rd, 2006 at 07:03 pm

got paid $40 on Sunday and another $40 yesterday...

$20 for the $20 challenge in November

November 14th, 2006 at 10:16 pm

$20 collected for admin services...

$100 for the $20 challenge in November

November 7th, 2006 at 07:04 pm

woo-hoo! collected another $100!!... Smile

061106- update on $20 challenge for October

November 6th, 2006 at 02:37 pm

forgot to add up the $20 challenge for October

Total for October
Challenge statistics:
to discount from challenge this month:
-$6 (taxes)

Earned in September: $440.00

net for January: $12.15
net for February: $318.40
net for March:$380.00
net for April: $222.00
net for May:$336.86
Net for June: $32.50
Net for July: $210.00
Net for August: $835
Net for September: $430.00
Net for October: $434.00
Total ytd for 2006 (net):$3,210.95

TARGET: $4,000

$789.05/ 2 months to go!

Full tank!

October 27th, 2006 at 08:12 pm

...yesterday, when I gave my keys to one of the managers so he could take my car home (I took theirs, so I could leave straight from home at 6:30 am this morning for the police inspection!), my car had a bit less than 1/4 at lunch, when I moved my car out of the manager's spot, it had a full tank!, my car doesn't do that (fill up magically, that is!)so, that means the manager filled the tank yesterday!...that was really nice of him! (especially since his house is about half-way from our office to my house, so it's not like his taking it would have meant higher consumption!)...

woo-hoo!...that should last about 15 days (or, 8, if you take into account our planned "Termos del Rio" excursion with Ale!)...hmmmm, should I put $20 (about what it would have taken to fill the tank) into my $20 challenge??

$300 for cc's

October 27th, 2006 at 04:31 pm

this doesn't go in the $20 challenge because this is a REIMBURSEMENT of expenses for the toy venture (this is coming out of the 50% advance payment, with this we buy the toys and reimburse expenses, the complementary 50% comprises money to finish paying our suppliers for the toys and to distribute between us -- THAT will go into the $20 challenge!)...

$10 for gas

October 25th, 2006 at 02:38 pm

Well, since I'm almost out of cash for the month and, since my poor car was almost running out of gas, I went to the gas station yesterday and paid for $10 worth of $3.12 a gallon, it was the cheapest gas I've bought since I've had this car!!!...(gone are the days when we thought $3 for gas was expensive! how sad is that?)

Oil change!

October 24th, 2006 at 08:51 pm

Took my car for an oil change today...spent $22.84...they also quoted on some other stuff that needs to be done: brake check, 2 new tires and change of coolant in the radiator...for a total of $108....'ll start quoting and shopping around! ((sigh))

$80 for the $20 challenge in october

October 22nd, 2006 at 03:21 am

I write it down here so I don't forget to add it to my spreadsheet on Monday!...$80...did not go towards debt, went to groceries, fixing Ale's schoolbag and paying for swim lessons... Frown

Add $100 to the $20 challenge for October

October 17th, 2006 at 06:56 pm

I just got paid $100 for some admin services (from July!)...I'm still owed $500 more for July, plus Aug and Sept!...slowly but steadily collecting this money!...right now, it goes into the bank account (to pay the overdraft!)...

I know, I shouldn't even be using it, but, just think, a year ago I was using the overdraft AND paying up to 47% interest on cc's! year, by this time, I shouldn't even be using the overdraft anymore (I have 2 more debts that will be eliminated in August 2007, and the total monthly payments for those is $104...)

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