Home Sweet Home

I wish I had an awesome August Update for you guys, that I killed CC1 debt with my bare hands and made a sizable dent into CC2. Or that my ace-in-the-hole came through. Or that I won the lottery and haven’t said anything for several weeks because I’m too busy enjoying being debt free.

But I can’t. 😦

I paid down CC1 a bit, CC2 barely and I haven’t heard from my ace-in-the-hole. The cat needs to see a specialist, I still struggle with productive ways to handle stress without shopping and now the house.

Oh, the house. We are getting ready to sell. The one good thing to come out of it is that because I don’t want to haul more stuff to storage, I am forced to not shop as much. I did have a bit of a weekend splurge because I had to get birthday gifts and there were things I wanted on sale. There hasn’t been much beyond that though it’s still probably too much money going to frivolous stuff.

With selling the house, however, we have to invest in some improvements. I’m hiring a painter because there are some difficult rooms I need a professional to fix, but luckily he is a friend and doing it at a discount. Boom, there goes most of what I would have used to pay off CC1. I also bought a deal for a maid service to clean once we declutter. We are trying to sell some of that clutter (that money goes to husband though), but we are not having any luck. Today, a realtor came over and pointed out a dark spot on the ceiling. I drilled a hole and water is dripping out currently. It’s slowed since I drilled the hole, but it hasn’t stopped, so money will have to go to at the very least cutting out and replacing that piece of the ceiling if not also fixing a pipe someplace in the house. More money. Have to power wash the house, finish painting the fence, replace the little front step roof. Money, money, money. Oh, let’s not forget the cost of renting a storage unit. It’s adding up, quickly. Not to mention we aren’t going to see much of a return on investment on any of it, but if we want to sell our house quickly, we have to do it.

It hurts, it pushes back my credit card kill date, but hopefully the ace-in-the-hole comes through. And hopefully some miracle will happen, and I do have a glisten of hope for a miracle actually, but I don’t want to get my hopes up. I’ll know by Sunday or Monday definitely on whether that miracle will happen (so please say a prayer!).

 

I’m Going to Sell Out Now

I hate to do it, but it never hurts to put it out there, and at least I don’t run ads?!?

Ebates.com, one of the websites I’ve mentioned in the past that I legitimately like to use to make money back, has a referral program. I could earn some money on people who use this link to sign up and make a purchase using the ebates portal by the end of the month. I’ve actually used ebates a few times recently and have over $20 in money that I can have them send a check to me for. The site I use to buy my contacts actually has an awesome cash back percentage. It’s legit, I’ve gotten money before and it has a lot of big name retailers, you just have to remember to go to ebates.com, find the online store you want to make the purchase at (if it participates) and click that link so that it opens a ticket connected to your ebates account. So, if you sign up or get anyone else to sign up using the link and help me earn referral credits, I will be greatly appreciative to you.

Hopefully you all won’t hate me for doing this rather shameless promotion 😦

August Check-In

Let’s get the big business out of the way:

CC1: $584.88

CC2: $4902.95

Student Loan (Just for the sake of reference): $75118.59

These are all as of August 1st.

Obviously, I had one slight decrease and one major increase. Upon discussion with my husband, there was something a little pricey he wanted me to buy for myself and that increase on CC2 is the result. I had to take the opportunity to buy it while the market on such things had cooled down and I made sure I was getting the best price possible. I had paid down CC1 a bit, but an event and one other small purchase negated some of that pay down.

But, like I had mentioned previously, August is a three paycheck month. I WILL be paying off CC1 and CC2 will be brought back down easily barring any disasters (knock on wood). I did get my raise, but it’s only an additional $1 per hour, so while I was pretty disappointed that I didn’t get a better raise, I can’t complain too much because at least it’s something. And my health insurance is officially canceled, so if I don’t defer more money on my 401(k), I will be making approximately $990 per paycheck. I do plan on increasing my 401(k) contribution from 3% to 5% though in September after I get back to my part-time job, so I’ll expect around $975 per paycheck.

There is one other possibility afoot. If I don’t hear anything by the end of the week, I’ll expect she didn’t get it again, but I sent my ace-in-the-hole further information she is requiring and if I don’t hear anything by Friday, I’ll call to check if she got it. If I get as much as I’m hoping/expecting, if anything, credit card debt will be GONE. Even if I don’t get as much, it will go directly to the debt regardless. I’m hoping it will be finally resolved by the end of August, not just for the money but other personal reasons as well (if you can’t tell, I try to run this blog with some degree of anonymity, so I won’t get into specifics here).

 

The Goals

The financial goals for August are as follows:

  1. Payoff CC1
  2. Get CC2 down to $4k
  3. Just pay the ICR amount ($300) to the student loan.

What are your financial goals this month?

 

Requested Wedding Budget

A reader requested a breakdown of what we ended up spending on the wedding. I’m going to get that into the works soon, and I going to approach it in such a way to give you an idea of the distorted reality people have about the costs of such an event. I also have two post-wedding associated “things” I need to do first before I can put it together. I feel they are pertinent, often overlooked expenses that are in fact associated with weddings and should be on the final budget, so it may be a few more weeks before I can get it to you, but I will, I promise!

Well, it’s Saturday morning. I already managed not to do one thing this morning, so I need to get crackin’!

Calculations, More Websites and Other Stuff

On my July 13th post, I discussed the capitalized interest on my student loans and asked you all to comment on how you would approach the dilemma. In a very thoughtful reply, Matt pointed out considering the interest to be paid out. I’ve decided to not worry about the capitalized interest- I’d rather focus on the two immediate problems, CC1 and CC2, and decide how to best approach paying those off. I have approximately $500 left to pay on CC1, and $4500 to pay to CC2 (I already paid for the upcoming August due date). Taking into consideration Matt’s suggestions, I went to the calculator my bank website has and did a little number crunching. On my next paycheck, I will be able to most definitively afford to pay $500 to a credit card. Using the calculator, I figured out that I would barely save anything in interest. So, that $500 (plus approximately $6 in interest) will go to CC1 so that I can check that one off the list. Then maybe I need to seriously consider freezing CC1…

More Websites

I enjoy checking out different financial websites and seeing what they have to offer. Here are two that I recently checked out:

Saltmoney.org– This website is really targeted for the still in school/just graduated from school crowd with student debt. It gives nice lessons on budgeting, understanding debt, loans and other financial products and you can import your student loan information to get their advice on how to make the best payments for quickest payoff within reason of your income. If this had existed 8-9 years ago, maybe I would have made smarter choices about how to approach the student loan world. Where I’m at these days, it is not particularly suited to what I have to deal with financially, but for my younger readers out there, check it out.

Readyforzero.com– This is a bit more suited for the older peeps in my audience. You can link your bank accounts, credit cards and loans and see all your cash flow and debts in one place. It gives you advice on which debt to tackle first (they go by the highest interest rate first, I kind of wish they gave you a choice between that and snowball) and how long it will take to pay off the loan based on how much money you are willing to put towards your debts and takes into account minimum payments on debts. It’s a bit glitchy- it’s a crap shoot if it’s going to connect to your account or not, I’m especially having trouble with it connecting to my student loan website, but all in all I think I like it the best of all the ones I have tried (cleanest and simplest interface).

**Again, I don’t get squat for saying anything about these websites

Other Stuff

I was banking on my health insurance being canceled by next paycheck. But I’m worried that a stupid loophole may mean I’m paying for insurance I’m not using for another few months until the next enrollment period. Apparently I have 30 days from the qualifying event to cancel my insurance. Well, we are at 53 days since my wedding, the HR lady is out so she hasn’t submitted all my completed paperwork and hopefully I have the correct paperwork to boot (proof of new insurance, etc.). I’m hoping I can say that my going on husband’s insurance starting next month can count as the qualifying event as opposed to the marriage. Fingers crossed, because I’m banking on that extra $200 a month to help with the debts!

Speaking of health insurance, I have some words of advice. ALWAYS CHECK TO SEE HOW MUCH OF THE RETAIL PRICE YOU’VE BEEN PAYING ON PRESCRIPTIONS. I recently learned that I’ve been paying full retail price on a monthly medication I take. I pay so little that I didn’t think much about it, but then the guy who was ringing me up pointed it out this past round. Over the long haul, we are talking around $140 on this. Once I’ve gathered documentation, I’ll be submitting the claims to my insurance, but I’m hoping to make at least some of what I shelled out back. I am about to submit another claim since my eye doctor has decided to charge me every year for contact fittings and won’t submit to insurance on my behalf, so I’m sure the insurance company is going to love me over the next several weeks! Being that I’ve fought with a few insurance companies in my day job to get payment on bills, I sure both will be a fight, but if you fight enough and have supporting documentation (ICD-9 codes, etc.), you will get reimbursed for some or all of your claims.

Finances, a fight to stay afloat!

“I wonder if I ask for a raise, will I receive one…?”

I wrote that line in a blog post just 9 days ago.

I also speak often how I need my income to increase to help with paying off debt.

Today, I walked into my boss’ office to discuss one thing, and ended discussing some administrative issues we are encountering with the staff. I was kind of put off yesterday by the fact there were ten of us in the office, and barely anyone had work to do. The front office ladies were working on some mundane busy work, but that’s only 3 of them. The 7 of us who were left had nothing to do, and in any other job I had worked at, that either meant find work to do or go home (which I did yesterday), something that is not practiced in this office but should be to try to instill some work ethic. After I suggested that we start sending people home on quiet days such as yesterday and maybe it will make the scheduling ladies a bit more cognizant of how they are scheduling, my boss agrees and tosses in that she had meant to do it this pay period, but I’m way overdue for a raise and that she was going to retroactively date it to July 1st (so I’ll get an additional check in a week or two).

WHAT THE FLIPPER?!?

I was stunned. I had been hearing since last Christmas how no one has had a raise in ages. I suspect a person or two probably had gotten one, and the ones who hadn’t weren’t working hard to prove their worth. But, since so many hadn’t been given raises (one woman has been there four years and has never received a raise…), I just assumed that I would be in that majority. I started to fume recently that all I do is work my ass off, take on more and more responsibility without blinking an eye and get nothing in return. I created a new, married name email address Sunday, busted open Word Monday night to create a new resume and started scoping out jobs I wanted to apply to (one really caught my eye, I may apply *just to see* if they might have a nibble of interest in me) after an especially angering day last Friday. So, when she made this declaration today, all I could do was mumble my appreciation and thank yous since I truly wasn’t expecting it and was starting to pave the road to get out of there. The latter is still possible, but the sense of urgency has decreased (mainly because I feel guilty leaving someone after they give me a raise and feel a sense of obligation to do right by them).

I don’t know how large the raise is- I am an hourly employee and my boss works in dollars, so I’m confident it’s at least a $1/hour raise, but naturally I’m hoping it’s better than that. It’s better than nothing though, so I’ll take it! And it’s at least another $100 per month to paying off my debt!

$1639.23

That is the amount to be capitalized to my student loan.

Image

Ugh, right? Now I’ll have even more interest accrue once it’s capitalized at the end of the month.

And, despite a post I made earlier this year, that monthly payment reversion on my ICR to over $500 a month was temporary. I had thought they had accessed my tax return and upped the price automatically, but it turns out I needed to submit my return, some paperwork and basically re-up my ICR for another year. Starting next month, my monthly payment is approximately $292 a month. But, this does not cover the amount of interest calculated monthly.

I have a couple of decisions to make here though. If I just pay around $300 a month, that will free up another $225 a month to put towards the credit cards. And once those are paid off, I can re-evaluate how much month I want to pay toward my student loan monthly. OR, once the interest is capitalized, I can re-figure how much interest my student loan accrues monthly, pay above that amount so that I can start making a dent into that principle and make sure I have no more letters like that telling me I have even more money to pay. If I were to go with option one, I would be done paying off the credit cards by November if I take into account teaching dance again in September. If I go option two, I’m looking at probably paying off the credit cards in January. Option one would also allow some leeway at Christmas time and once the new year starts, I could start more aggressively paying my student loan. Option two, the more aggressive payments would be held off for another month or two.

I don’t have much audience participation on my blog, but I would love to know your thoughts on what you would do. Are you like me and go for the immediate gratification of paying off the credit cards as quickly as possible, or start trying to kill the principle on the student loan now and go for the longer credit card pay off?

Ask and You Shall Receive!

This post is going to look at two different perspectives on this phrase in the world of personal finance.

Got My Deposit Back!

After waiting for over a month to get my deposit back, I finally emailed the coordinator at my venue asking if I was going to receive it back. She emailed me back a couple hours later stating that she had requested it be returned to me the day after my wedding, so theoretically I should have received it before I got home from my honeymoon (as I thought I would). She sent the person in charge of cutting checks an email asking what had happened- that person was out for surgery for a month and the volunteer who was in charge of handling checks didn’t do what they were supposed to do! So, the very next day a check was in my mailbox. I’ve decided to fully commit it to CC1 immediately and kill that debt by next month (I haven’t canceled my health insurance yet, so I don’t have the wiggle room for the $775 per month yet, plus I owe husband some cash for adding me on to his car insurance).

I asked where my rightfully owed money was, and I got it! I wonder if I ask for a raise, will I receive one…?

And on the seventh day, God said “LET THERE BE CUTE SHOES.” (Or something like that)

I have an unhealthy obsession with shoes. Whenever I see a cute pair of shoes, I go through a deep internal struggle about the cost and the need for the shoes. I did an excellent job in 2012 of only buying shoes when I absolutely needed to, but this year has been a different story. I bought two pairs of shoes this past week (buy one pair, get one pair free, how could I possibly pass that up?!?), and my husband bought me a third pair. This is on top of other pairs I bought earlier this year…

Good ol’ husband, he loves to make me happy. He loves to make me happy with shoes.  I often don’t have to do much more than ask then he will buy whatever it is I want for me as long as he perceives it to be reasonably priced (i.e. I saw a beautiful $14,000 dollar ring a few weeks ago, there is no way he will ever buy that for me unless we win the lottery). On our honeymoon, he bought me a very expensive somethin’ that I was admiring, with merely the excuse that we were on our honeymoon.

This mentality he has, while fun at times, can be stressful. Eventually we are going to start a family, the belts are going to get tighter and I don’t think he’ll know what to do! I mentioned in a comment to a reader who was interested in seeing how we will combine and manage our finances together, but him and I don’t talk money often. It is definitely a source of stress between us, with him being slightly better at it than me but him more frequently buying things that I don’t think are necessary to happiness, but in his mind they are. He could probably save thousands a year by cutting back on some of his discretionary expenses. Eventually I want him to be on board for killing the mortgage as fast as possible (after I kill the student loan), but I worry he won’t like what it will entail.

Once I get my credit cards in order and am a strongly contributing member in the household, I will ask him to start making sacrifices for the good of us and our future family. We will see how it goes, hopefully another ask and receive that I will receive…

July Check-In

As life returns to normal, I can finally start to catch up on the important things, like asking my audience to help keep me accountable with my finances. After interest was added, here is what my accounts are looking like:

Credit Card One: $1518.96

Credit Card Two: $4850.52

Student Loan, Outstanding Balance (as of 7/1/13, it increases daily!): $74,714.46

Let’s say I give myself 6 months to pay off my credit cards. Thanks to the calculator on my banks website, I was able to figure exactly how much I would need to pay on each to pay them off.

CC1: $260.90/month

CC2: $862.52/month

TOTAL: $1123.42

With the $775 I know I can definitely put toward the credit cards, that leaves a little bit of a gap to close, a $348.42 gap to be exact. Once I’m back to teaching dance again in the fall, that will help close the gap. But, I still have July and August to account for and I have no extra income those months (my summer classes had zero enrollment, so naturally they were canceled). I just posted items from my wedding for sale, so hopefully bargain brides will want what I’m trying to sell! I have some more things from my wedding to post, I just need to check the integrity of the items first.

I also have yet to receive my deposit back, and if I get that back it will completely close the gap for July, August and then some. I’m debating if I want to take it, apply it all to CC1, pay off the rest and just do above the minimum payment on CC2 for July [assuming that I do get the deposit back]. The good ol’ psychological trick of paying off one debt to keep motivated on the others. I’m leaning toward that route just because I like it so much- it really does help to motivate me.

Just so you all know, I’m always open to ideas (beyond what I’ve already put out there). If you have some phenomenal, legal and legit method of making extra cash, I’m all ears! I do like the easy way out admittedly, so the simpler the better!