Websites for Your Visiting Pleasure

I apparently have a lot of things to say today! I have been thinking about doing this post for a while, so time is ripe!

Great Websites to Visit and/or Sign up for (all free)!

Finaid.org: I can’t start this list without the big kid on campus when it comes to learning about student loans. Educate yourself before you educate yourself.

Debt Payoff Calculator: Visit this site to calculate what you need to do to pay off your debts

Credit Karma: Great website to track your credit score. This is a great motivator to get yourself to payoff debts.

Credit.org: This will direct you to their Educational Guides. Now, this company’s main product is a Debt Management Program, but I just want you to read the educational guides. They provide great advice.

Annual Credit Report: Get your annual credit report to make sure that everything is accurate and that you haven’t been the victim of identity theft over the past year. Don’t sign up for the sites that require you to “try” their credit monitoring and that crap- those are scams to take your money.

Envelope Budgeting Technique: Interesting way to do the envelope system. Her blog in general has a lot of frugal tips.

Pinterest: If you haven’t used Pinterest yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. Why include it on this list? There are a lot of great ideas on there that will help you learn how to make your own stuff that will help you save money. For example: I normally pay $6 for eye makeup remover that lasts a month, trying a recipe that cost $6 to make that should last me WELL over a year. That’s just one thing in hundreds that I’ve pinned that has saved me money. It’s also how I found the previous link.

One from a reader: Bill Shrink: Helps you find ways to save money on common expenditures and utilities.

I hope you find these websites helpful. If you have anymore that you like to frequent that has helped you with personal finance, please say so in the comments!

**Disclaimer: I was not nor have I ever been paid by any of those websites. Those websites are my own finds and are only as good as I think they are. Use at your own risk as using any site that collects data is a risk!**

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Before You Take Out a Student Loan…

I was on Yahoo! homepage this morning, and this article popped up:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/9-unbelievable-student-loan-horror-stories-165512874.html?page=all
If you are considering taking out a ton of loans, read that article and read more stories at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/chime-in-on-private-student-loans/

If those stories don’t scare the sh!t out of you, then I don’t know what will.
I definitely discourage everyone from getting private loans. There is absolutely no regulation on their interest caps, and they can sink to low levels of scumbaggery when it comes to collecting debts. You can almost never discharge loans in a bankruptcy situation, so I really advise you students out there to think long and hard before taking out loans.

I’m not saying NEVER take out loans- it it’s the difference between needing an extra $1000 or staying out of school one semester, take the $1000 loan. Like I said in a previous post, taking out a loan can help improve your credit score, but a do it with a SMALL loan.

No school or program is worth the stress of the financial burden that student loans visit upon us. Read those stories if you somehow think you’ll be the exception to the rule. Our world is saturated with people who have a degree, therefore very few have qualifications that will make them invaluable to the companies they apply to, so no one is immune to the issues of those who posted their stories to Consumer Finance.

Our society is living longer and longer these days. Many people have waited until their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, I even heard about a gentleman that did a Physical Therapy Assistant program in his 80s, to go back to school. And I bet all those people were able to pay for school out of pocket because they waited, planned and saved. No one is holding a gun to your head, telling you to go to college or grad school immediately. Take your time, save your pennies, and you’ll save yourself stress, and interest, down the road.

Passed Up Opportunities

Earlier this month, I got an email from my dance boss about a community center near me that needed an instructor for dance asking if I were interested and if I were, to contact the center. Two of the days were a no go as I am working or already teaching at the times they needed. But there was a third day they needed an instructor that I could potentially do. I had discussed it before- I am not really interested in teaching for the community centers in my area due to a bad experience I had several years ago. But, considering everything that’s going on in my life and the money that is required, I went ahead and contacted the person in charge of the dance program at this community center and stated that I may be interested.
It didn’t take long for her to reply. Someone with my qualifications is pretty unique- it’s getting more difficult to find older, more experienced dance instructors who have a ton of experience teaching in general, but also successful in working with preschool age children. Pretty much, if I wanted the job, the interview would have been a formality. But, when I sat down to really figure it out, I had issues. First, it would eat into my Saturday. Second, not only would it eat into my Saturday, but it would interfere with my ability to take my Krav Maga classes (and we’d end up wasting money on my membership). Finally, I’m still struggling with the idea of taking on a third job because, honestly, do I really need to add more to my plate?? I ultimately decided not to pursue the job despite the financial benefit.
I know what you all are probably thinking, “But, rosiedancer, look at your financial situation! You have bills to pay off and a wedding to pay for!” Yeah, yeah, yeah, but at what cost to my sanity? At this time, I think when it comes to pursuing additional income, I need to go the more non-committal route and only do gigs that are once or twice deals.  Last night, I stage managed a show for a friend- while I don’t think I’ll get paid, I at least got to go out for a fun evening for free and also got some free swag. It also exposed me to more people who now know who I am and were really appreciative of my skills and abilities, which may lead to paid opportunities in the future. I’m also trying to get back in shape to get back into professional dance performance, which can be decent pay for the occasional gig.

While I may have passed up a good opportunity to make additional income, I know I made the right decision for me. At this moment in time in my life, I need all the extra minutes I can get to do what I need to do for myself. Sometimes, you have to step back from the moment and look at the what you truly need from life, and while no debt is a great goal and one I will continue to pursue, what I truly need from life is love and happiness, and those are the goals I’ll pursue long after my debt is gone.

I’m a Sucker

It finally happened- I have another cat! After years and years of my pining over the cute kittens at the local Petsmart, fiance saw one he liked enough to say “Okay, you can have another cat.” So, as of today, she lives with us!

What has this to do with my budget?

Well, there’s the adoption fee, the cost of feeding another mouth and the vet fees. As long as she’s healthy like my other cat, she shouldn’t be too expensive. I don’t have to worry about most of her shots and spaying, they’ve all been done, and that takes a huge burden of money off my shoulders.

But, of course, this money has to come out of something for now.

I had decided to just pay what I had budgeted on CC1 and didn’t add anything extra to the payment despite having a little bit of extra cash in the bank. I had actually decided to do this a few days before the possibility of adopting the kitten even came about. But, having the extra money in the bank allowed me to adopt her. So, there you have it. I continue on my steady path, with no hopes of early payoffs.

Comfortable

At this point, I have to say I’m comfortable. Yes, I wanted to get out of debt and quickly, but right now I’m comfortable with the pace I’m doing it at, hence why I didn’t invest more money into paying off the debt this month. Perhaps after the new year I’ll feel reinvigorated- I had wanted to bump up my student loan payments starting in January- but for now, the way I’m doing things is working for me. I know CC1 will definitely be paid off in December, CC2 and cosmetic loan…?

Other Hopes

Supposedly, the people at my new job received a decent bonus last year. However, with hiring two new doctors as well as yours truly, they aren’t expecting much this year. But, goodness only knows I’ve been working my butt off doing A/R’s and managed to bring in a few thousand dollars within a couple of days. I’m still hoping for a decent enough of a bonus to pay for Christmas gifts. Fiance and I agreed to a fairly modest Christmas budget for each other, so it helps to not feel so guilty and spending more because of that guilt.

I really need to clean up the rest of my house and get rid of things, so this time, for real, I’m going to post stuff on eBay. I have four uninterrupted days next weekend to get things done, I may as well take advantage of the fact and post stuff up. Also, a friend posted a pin on Pinterest regarding how to make extra money for the holidays. When I went to the link, the blog had 31 different ideas, so I think I’ll be implementing the first one I read, trading in stuff to Amazon for credit. I could use the credit to buy things for my nieces and nephews if I decide to not go the cash route with them. I don’t have high hopes for either method, but it has a double benefit of putting a little bit of cash in my pocket and getting rid of things.

In fact, I think I’ll sign off this post now and try that Amazon thing!

It’s That Time Again!

Time to analyze my monthly debt pay down!

After interest has been added, I’m down a total of $523.44 from September to October!

But, let’s have an honest moment, it could be better. I should be exercising better restraint considering my goal and future plans.  I did go out some more in October, but November the plan is to be *really* strict in my plans.

CC2/Cosmetic Loan Decision

I have to do some further investigation, but it doesn’t look like I can transfer the balance from the cosmetic loan onto CC2, so for now, the decision has been made for me.

That also means no November debt kill of CC1 (I would have dedicated the $250 that goes to the loan to CC1 had I been able to transfer the loan). Especially thanks to the income lost from missing work because of Sandy, I really won’t be able to pay it off. My graphic above displays the fact that I’m only paying what I had planned, but I’m hoping to be able to pay more than the amount that I have planned. Had I been more restrained in my spending last month.. Oh well, what’s done is done.

At Least I’m Staying Smart with the Wedding!

We’ve been looking for an officiant. It had been looking like that was going to be stupid expensive considering the service being rendered, but we don’t have the money in the budget to pay as much as many officiant’s were charging. I was looking up what it would take to have a friend officiate the wedding on my county’s website and found information regarding how much a civil celebrant can charge. I had all these people in my ear telling me I should just pay the celebrant $$$$ because that’s standard.

I ain’t that stupid.

I called the courts to confirm what I was reading regarding the civil celebrant cost and also to ask about what I had been reading regarding people ordained online.

My friends= “oh, $$$$ is the standard rate!” The Courts= “oh, hell no! $ is the maximum allowable rate.”

My friends= “oh, someone ordained online is okay to officiate your wedding.” The Courts= “oh, hell no! We do not interpret the law that way, we don’t sign people who have been ordained online.” (Basically, when you get married, you go to the courthouse, get your marriage license, then have you have to have someone who is sworn in perform your ceremony within a certain number of days. They sign the license after the ceremony has been performed, thus making it legal. If they aren’t ordained and sworn in by the court, your marriage can be consider invalid.)

In fact, I was told by the clerk if I come across anyone who is on their civil celebrant list and charging more than the max, I’m to call the court right away so that they can revoke that person’s right to ordain ceremonies.

The lesson with this particular exercise is to not be a follower. Just because everyone else is stupid enough to pay ridiculous amounts of money (particularly with weddings), use your brain and do your research. You could save a few hundred dollars compared to your peers, and potentially have a way better wedding (the civil celebrant’s have a boatload of experience performing weddings). I’ll easily pay a sixth to an eighth of what many of my friends paid for their celebrant’s.