As 2012 Draws to a Close

Two more days until the last day of 2012. What a year! Things I’ve thought about the past couple of days:

1. I didn’t die on December 21st. I first learned about the Mayan calendar ending on that day since I was 14. I feel silly admitting it, but part of me was a little afraid something would happen. I’ve had 15 years to think about it after all.

2. What a fulfilling year! Switching jobs, planning a wedding, adopting a cat…it’s all been a whirlwind! I wouldn’t change a thing, it’s been the best year of my life so far!

3. Being motivated by a total stranger to change my financial habits, and actually changing my financial habits.

At some point in the past two months, point 3 has become less about that person motivating me, and more about me taking control of something that I have always been completely intimidated by. It was easier for me to be in debt in some ways- I just could go on mindlessly buying stuff and paying what I could when I could. But, I read that Yahoo! article on that May evening, a few days later read an entire blog until my eyes were red and dry, and made the decision to change my financial habits because I realized that freedom from debt can’t be beat.

It hasn’t been a complete change. I’m still a consumerist- I do enjoy buying bright, shiny new things- but I have been substantially better in not just buying something, but actually thinking through the need and desire to buy. I think had I not read the blog, I would still have all the debt I had earlier in the year and then some because I would have continued to mindlessly buy “things”. I do owe a lot of my mindset change to that author, so Joe, thank you. I hope you’ve enjoyed the rest of your year too.

I still have a lot to change, and a lot of debt to kill, and 2013 is another year to do so. I will be coming up with a revised plan, and few resolutions, and hope to make 2013 a very prosperous year. So, get ready kids, it’s going to get even MORE real.

Just thought this was funny

My horoscope for today:

“Your gut instincts might be great for figuring out what to wear out on a weekend night, but they are not the best tool for getting a handle on your money matters! It’s time to get a serious handle on what you are spending and what you are saving. There are plenty of great websites and books on the subject of personal finance, and your brain is in the right place to download some seriously helpful information. You can change any situation you’re in if you have the knowledge.”

Isn’t that what I’ve been doing since May??? You’re a little late to the show, there!

I Peeked….

I finally looked at CC2 the other day…

Not only did my spending the past month negate what I paid off on CC1 last month, it exceeded it by a few hundred dollars. After some quick scrambling, it’s down to $3200 even. I could have paid more, but I held back a bit because new kitten needs her shots and I need to get a couple more Christmas gifts. I want to do as much of that as I can with one of my debit cards, so I needed to leave some money in the account.

See, I’m trying to be a little responsible here!

Obviously, it changes the landscape of the debt payoff a bit. I was originally hoping to have everything paid off by April if I were conservative in my estimates. Now we are looking at June, if I’m not aggressive, though I am not sure how much more aggressive I can be- going into January, I’ll easily be paying $1200-$1400 a month on my debts, which is approximately 63-73% of my income.

The landscape currently is CC2- $3200 and Cosmetic Loan- $3450ish, but I just paid $550 (I don’t have online access to this, so I can’t say how much that has actually shaved off once interest has been accounted for), so we’re looking at roughly $6100-$6650 owed on those two debts. My $1200-$1400 in payments include my student loan payment, which I had hoped to up come January, but will keep at $250 for now, so when it comes to the other two debts, I’m really only paying $950-$1150 a month. AND I still have a wedding to pay for and a house to fix….

It’s a little bit discouraging. Yes, my ace in the hole could prove a huge benefit if I just made a simple phone call, but that’s only if I get what I want, which there’s always the chance that I won’t. But I also don’t want to rely on it either, no matter how much or little I may get. I need to learn how to budget smartly and effectively, learn to use more constructive means of dealing with stress (instead of shopping…) and do things without the help of others.

Once I get more details of my wedding planned and I’m able to balance life and work a bit better, I’ll reopen the question of extra income again. I babysat for that friend and made some money, which is great, but I really just don’t have the time and energy right now. I missed some chances to earn cash doing market research earlier this month, so hopefully more opportunities will come along again, sooner rather than later. I’ll continue to plan and pursue, but yet again, I’ve hit a wall.

Time for a Blog? Me?!?

I know, I know. I’m a week overdue for my December Debt Picture.

Past two weeks have been insanely busy, stressful and I was battling the un-flu last week as well. It’s been hard to want to do what I need to do.

And, honestly, this month’s picture isn’t super pretty.

I really have not wanted to look at my debt. I HAVE paid off CC1 minus $13 on interest from last month’s balance, but there was a glitch with the cosmetic loan and my monthly payment was not paid. CC2 is probably way up too thanks to new kitty bills, Christmas gifts, and I have to admit, I might have been stress shopping some. So, what I paid off on CC1 is probably null when I factor in CC2 [over]use.

Awesome Things Have Started to Take Shape

Last month, I did a small experiment. I put $300 in one of my checking accounts, and used that debit card to pay for my gas and food and small extras. I used it all, and then had to use my other debit card for one more gas tank fill (approximately $44). This month I put in $350. Hopefully that will get me to the end of the month, and if that does it means I have successfully shaved $50 off my monthly livings expenses.

One of the those small extras was a weekly automatic $5 transfer from checkings to savings. I really want to build up my savings account more, like I’ve discussed before, and I figure an easy, small weekly transfer won’t be missed and will help me build up my savings some. I will continue this, and as things get paid off I’ll be able to increase that amount.

I also sold some stuff on eBay! A Coach purse, some Harry Potter stuff (yes, I’m that kind of nerd) and I’m working on selling some music boxes now. I tried selling one of my music boxes, but no one bought it so I will try again. But, I’ve sold three things and after shipping expenses, I’ll have netted around $50, so I can’t complain- every little bit helps. Less clutter too (thank God- I watch “Hoarders” and start freaking out about all this crap I own, so less muss, less fuss).

I tried getting any babysitting gigs I could via Craigslist, but it didn’t work (got one nibble, but that person needed a weekday babysitter). A friend, however, needs me to babysit her kids one night and I’ll do that for a little extra cash.

Finally, remember that ace in the hole? Well, there is a certain medical aspect to it, and I discussed it with my doctor. I think I’m ready to call the ace in the hole and get it dealt with, so I’m not counting a December debt kill down and out yet.

I may or may not post the picture for this month, I’m still trying to gain the courage to look at how much damage has been done to the one credit card. Stay tuned…