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!

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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…

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.

Revenue Highs and Woes

The good news first.

Health insurance with my new job kicks in next week, which means I can ditch my mediocre individual insurance that I pay out of pocket!

I’m going to start teaching a class on Thursday nights at my pole fitness studio!

….And that’s about it.

Now the bad news.

I took the most expensive health insurance plan. I thought it was $160 a month, which would have still been cheaper than what I’ve been paying out of pocket for my individual plan. I found some documents to suggest that it’s actually $160 a paycheck. Holy shit! I emailed HR today to try to resolve it. We’ll see. 😩

I no sooner gain a dance class than I will probably lose one. Went to teach my tap classes, and my beginner class which hasn’t run in years only had one kid and we were both miserable the whole class. If there are no other students signed up, the class will get ditched. I’m hoping the hole can be filled with private dance student lessons, but we will see. In some ways I’m not too disappointed though because teaching three dance classes a night can be absolutely exhausting even if it’ll mean less money for my bottom line.

Other prospects yet?

None, I have absolutely no prospects for more additional income. I have great intentions going into the weekends to look and research ideas, but then I get out of bed on Saturdays and Sundays and have absolutely no motivation to do anything. Lack of motivation and caring got me into the mess I’m in now, so I had better find some soon.

It’s not much of a post tonight. I figured a decent public self-shaming might rev me up a bit. I’m looking forward to posting my debt numbers in a few days and sharing the progress. But don’t expect any progress notes on my budget, I still suck at staying in the lines and September illustrated that to me.
Until next time!

Another Revenue Increase Soon to Come!

Every school year, from September until May or June, I teach dance. I primarily teach tap and hip hop and always teach two or three classes of each each year. Because of the setting where I teach, every year one of my classes does not run because of lack of interest (usually beginner tap). So, I was just banking on teaching my normal four classes this year. Imagine my surprise when ALL five of my classes will be running due to enough interest! This, I have figured out, will add around $400 extra to my bottom line. I am one happy girl!

Injury Update

What can I say but my calf muscles hate me. This injury is coming along more quickly than when I tore the other calf muscle at least. If you have ever torn a muscle, you will get what I’m saying when I say it has got to be one of the most painful, annoying injuries to have.

My private insurance sucks (last time it was on workers comp), and my old job can’t help me out in that way, so I have to teach my fiancĂ© how to how me out and guide myself through stretching and exercises. I could be in a far worse predicament and be completely clueless on how to help myself, but luckily I’ve been trained well and paid attention.

When I found out my old job couldn’t basically give me free healthcare, I was so frustrated. I had to assess the depth of the injury and if professional intervention was really [financially] worth it. I’m pretty far from meeting my deductible and it would derail me from my financial goals. I decided to treat myself, but I discourage that for most. I happen to have the ability to call and get advice from professionals in the physical therapy field and was around it, every day, for almost two years. I have a higher level of knowledge than most.

The big hope, now that I’m sure the attachment to the tendon wasn’t affected, is that it heals like it should and won’t require further medical intervention.

Revenue Increase Hopes Abound

July has been an arduous month emotionally for me. My full-time job is becoming more…more…unbearable? Untenable? Draining? It’s a lot of different things right now, and as the days progress something more insane/unstable happens which tells me it’s TIME TO GO. But, where to?

Well, I’ve been following the “networking is what will get you a job” model, and I have let certain friends and a woman I work for on an extremely part-time basis know that I am looking for a new, permanent, full-time job that, oh, I don’t know, actually challenges me intellectually and gives me a chance to grow. Well, that woman is well acquainted with my full-time job, that’s how I met her, and she and her office manager are in the process of creating a job for me!!! Better hourly rate? No, but I’m at least guaranteed a solid 40 hour work week which my current job doesn’t. Ultimately the paychecks will be better because I’ll be working more. Also, the new position, whatever it ends up being, will be more likely to give me a focus and intent with a career path as opposed to the go-no-where job I have now. That’s what really makes me resent my current job- I was promised growth and opportunities, which are not happening, and I doubt they ever will. Ha, I was promised a lot of things with my current job and none of them are really happening! The new job isn’t 100% yet, so I am not holding my breath, but I was told that by mid-September everything should be figured out, and at the point I’ve been given an official offer and can submit my two weeks that’s when I’ll start holding my breath!

I also started to finally post some things online for sale. I did a Craigslist post with those dresses for sale again (I think I mentioned them before?), and an eBay auction for some troll dolls from my youth.

Image

The auction is set to end in a few hours but at least it has one bid on it, so I’ll make a bit of extra revenue. Now, what I have decided to do though is to keep the money I make in my PayPal account and use it to buy stuff on eBay for my wedding (if I can’t find some of the things I need for cheaper elsewhere). This way, I can try to regulate how I spend money on my wedding to some degree and if I have money left over when all is said and done, then I can put it towards my debt.

I’m trying to think of more ways to increase revenue. The flash mob I choreographed went extremely well, and I think I should consider re-visiting choreographing first dances for weddings, and now flash mobs for proposals and/or weddings, again. A few years ago I taught some friends how to dance for their wedding (for free though) and a couple of years after that I choreographed a first dance for a couple who did pay me. I attempted to market the idea, but got very, very little interest so I was quickly turned off from the idea and haven’t considered doing it since. But, with the flash mob going so well, I may be able to garner better interest if I were to try again. I’m going to sleep on the idea a bit more and see if I can think of better ways to build the idea.

For now, that’s all I got with increasing revenue. I am feeling motivated by my one eBay auction having bids on it, so I will put more stuff up for sale on there over the next few weeks. And hopefully the job will be created and I can get out of my current job and make more money!