It’s Kinda Windy Out…

I haven’t had much to say in recent days. Stuff is steady. I was hoping for a potential November debt kill of CC1, but because of Sandy that may not happen. Work closed early today, we’ll probably open late tomorrow and I don’t have vacation hours available to me to use to make up for that fact. I’ll probably just try to stay extra long other days this week if I can.

Yeah, I’m in the path of Sandy. We’re fairly far inland, so I’m not super concerned. We’re in a part of my town where if the power goes down, it’s almost always fixed within a few hours (I think we’re on the same grid as a few assisted living homes, so get that priority status). So, I’m hoping the trend holds and we’ll be good to go throughout the storm.

Obviously I’m really bored since I’m rambling. My dance classes were canceled (MORE income loss *sigh*), my gyms are closed, we braved the storm to get some dinner, but now I’m officially stuck at home riding the storm out. I’ve budgeted the *shit* out of my money, I don’t think there’s anymore that can be done. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MYSELF? Please, help entertain me loyal readers!

Decisions, Decisions

On Wednesday, I got an email from CC2 issuer stating I had a document available to be read online. I go ahead, login to my account and notice immediately that my available credit is way higher than it’s supposed to be. It dawns on me while I retrieve the document- they increased my credit limit.

I have a love/hate relationship with automatic credit limit increases. I hate them because they are what got me into trouble with money when I was younger. But, at the same time, especially now that I’m becoming a more financially responsible adult, it’s nice to have some extra space on my credit card should catastrophe strike.

All that extra space got me to thinking “hmmm, I could pay off my cosmetic loan with it and save on interest….”

BUT….

I’ve never really discussed this before, but I’m obsessed with my credit score. I check creditkarma.com everyday to see what I my score is; it rarely changes, but one of these days it will be really awesome. If you’ve never heard of or tried creditkarma.com, I fully endorse it. Free service, let’s you know changes to your credit score and what it is that’s affecting the score, so by extension you’ll learn changes to your credit report as well. One determinant of your credit score is credit utilization, or the percentage that you’re using your available credit (total credit debt divided by total credit limits equals credit utilization percent). Thanks to this limit increase, my credit score should go up a few points.

If I were to pay off my cosmetic using my credit card, it would send my credit utilization percentage back up, thus bringing my score back down. Granted, it isn’t a big change, but the thought kills me! And it also makes me a little uncomfortable to take up so much room on the credit card.

What would you do? Pay off the cosmetic loan and save money in the long run? Or keep proceeding as normal?

Experiencing Life

Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.~ Oscar Wilde
I have to eat some words from a few weeks ago about how my friends and I are cool with just staying in and hanging out. I’ve spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $250-$300 on going out to various events with my friends.

😦

Of course, I’m disappointed with myself that I spent so much on entertainment with friends, but as the above quote is supposed to illustrate (in this particular case literally), some experiences aren’t free. One was a 80s cover band concert, so we had tickets, a pre-show dinner and I bought some new 80s-inspired accessories for the show ($20, $30 and $40). The other was a masquerade ball for which I bought tickets ($62) and a costume ($150ish, but $50 of that was a gift card, so not money directly out of my pocket). That’s a lot of money that won’t be going to my debt this month.

But also 🙂

I wouldn’t trade the fun I had with my friends those nights for anything! Sometimes you have to get out of the house and enjoy the events that are at our disposal, even if it costs money.

There is an extra upside here. A new relationship is being developed with the people who run the masquerade ball event, which down the road may have a financial benefit. While I still had fun, there were things lacking with the event and I very unabashedly gave them a very thorough critique, from the event, to the house, to their website. They wrote back almost immediately discussing my critique, which honestly I was impressed with, they obviously care about what they are doing. This particular event they hold monthly has an element in which they could totally tie in some dance stuff, so as a path for them to make more money for their organization, I suggested a pre-party era-inspired dance class for the ladies (they also could do a gentleman’s hour for the guys while the ladies learn, I have ideas). Right now, I would do it for them for free while they continue to develop their events, but I think at some point I could say “alright, we have had a few events with good attendance under our belts, time for some kick back.” But, in general, it would get my name out there and I could find dance clients that way. It’s a potential “everybody wins” situation.

D’oh!

Everyday I get a “Balance Alert” from my bank letting me know how much money is in my checking account. This morning, while I’m relaxing before going to work, I get my alert and I’m immediately alarmed by how low it is and wondering where the Hell some of the money went. I log on and realized I’m a f***ing idiot.

I paid my student loan twice.

What happened? Well, they didn’t take out money last Friday because I guess the payment hit my account before my paycheck did (a big gamble on my part, I know), so it was rejected. Figuring they (they being the Dept of Ed) wouldn’t try again, I immediately logged on to my Dept of Ed account and scheduled an immediate payment. Well, what I learned today was I was wrong.

Is this necessarily a bad thing? No, paying more to the student loan is never a bad thing. BUT, it does mean that I can’t pay as much to my other debts this month.

OH WELL! Lesson learned!

October Debt Analysis

Going into September, I was looking at a total of $7715.48 in debt with the medical bill, CC1, CC2 and the cosmetic loan.

This it what that spreadsheet looks like now!

Medical bill=Gone!

Credit Cards= One lower, one higher, but the higher portion is the part my employer owes me from business travel.

Cosmetic Loan=Lower! (well, it’s a loan, it can’t go up)

I am down a total of $901.69 from September, even though I paid 1150.17, the difference between the two being the amount I’m up on CC2 from the business trip, which I haven’t been reimbursed for yet, and the little extra I had in the bank. If I hadn’t had the extra money in the bank to pay off the medical bill, I would have only paid around $850 total to the debt, so despite the slight downside, I still did well and will see an extra upside next month once I’m reimbursed.

In October I will start seeing the revenue from teaching dance roll in, so it should continue to help speed up the process. I will project that CC1 will definitely be paid off in November. I’m not so enthusiastic that the other two will be paid off by Christmas unless that ace in the hole or a small miracle happens.

Holidays

As I’m carving out this path, one thing I have to consider is the holidays that are just around the corner. I’ve made a basic budget that shouldn’t exceed $250. My fiance’s gifts gets the bulk of that share, while my nieces and nephews will get a small portion each. At least two, if not three or four of my nieces and nephews will get cash wrapped up in fun ways (thanks for the ideas Pinterest!) and the youngest will definitely be getting a toy or books. I’m choosing money because they all have a bunch of toys and clothes, and they are at or getting to that age where they understand, appreciate and should be learning to properly use money. It’s the teacher in me, most of my gifts have an educational value. I feel a little guilty not spending more on them, but they will each get big gifts for being ring bearers and flower girls at my wedding, so that will be worked into the wedding budget.

Now, of course, the question is where is that money coming from? I hate to say it, but I may need to look to babysitting a few nights to make some of the money. I might try to do a couple of days where I watch a bunch of kids at once so people can go holiday shopping. Problem? Space. I don’t have it in my house, so I’ll have to talk to some friends to see if they are willing to sacrifice their space and time to execute the idea and doing that will cut into the profit margin. I had also thought about taking a holiday job, but I don’t think I have it in me to commit to a job a few nights a week for 6-8 weeks. I’ll talk about the why in the next section a bit more. I’ll also look to see if there are sacrifices in my budget that can be made or if I can do some extreme couponing over the next few months. We’ll label this problem “a work in progress.”

Sorry, Joe, I like giving gifts too much to just not do it.

Exhaustion

I am absolutely stinkin’ exhausted. Not with this whole debt battle, but mentally with the new job. It is definitely sending me home ready to just crash into my bed some days. The quality of this fatigue is definitely a lot different than the fatigue I felt with my old job which was more of a physical exhaustion. I just need to get used to it, I think. I also need to tweak my diet to adjust to sitting at a desk most of the day. I used to be on my feet and coaching/exercising with patients at my old job so burning calories and eating junk food wasn’t as big of a deal and still have energy to burn. Now I’m definitely showing the physical signs (bigger belly) of a desk job after only a month, not to mention junk food probably just makes me more exhausted, so if I changed that, it may improve my energy.

Because of the exhaustion, it’s really hard for me to consider getting a seasonal job, which I had been considering for the past few weeks prior to the exhaustion starting to set in. Even considering the babysitting idea again makes my head swim. However, if I’m going to at least be mostly successful with my goal, I need to look at those alternative methods of making money, pursue them and get over my exhaustion. Right now, it’s a mental block I have to break through and hopefully I can break it sooner than later. Let’s see what happens mid-October once I start getting into the groove of my current schedule. At that point, I’ll have a better picture of how I’m reacting to the fatigue and if taking on more tasks is doable.