HAPPY NEW YEAR!

…Nine days later 🙂

2013, in general terms, was a good year. I was reading through my posts from last year and what’s funny is I apparently had some crazy, stressful months in 2013, but now those seem so insignificant (and I can’t totally remember why they felt so stressful). Also, back in mid-June, I predicted I would pay off my credit card debt in 7 to 8 months.We are pretty close to that 7 month mark, and I was apparently correct.

CC1 is paid off. CC2 will hopefully be paid off in the next two to three weeks. At this point, I’m probably boring you all with the continued setbacks since I’m apparently all talk and no show. Buying furniture, painting, etc. for the new house adds up so no complete credit card payoff. But, more so than any other time I’ve said it, I actually believe it. It’s time to take myself seriously, and finally get it done.

Resolutions Monthly Challenges

We all have heard the stats regarding New Year’s Resolutions and how most ultimately fail. Instead of making resolutions regarding paying off debt and failing (like I usually do), I’m going to give myself monthly challenges.

So, for January, I’m starting simple. I’m going to go cash only on my spending for January. I’ll withdraw $100 a week, and when it’s gone at the end of that week, that’s it! No more spending until my next withdrawal. And if I underspend, extra goes to savings and reevaluate my monthly spending.

Did anyone make any money resolutions?

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Quick Update!

It’s been a hectic past couple of weeks- we were packing, moving, and unpacking our new home!! Super excited, larger than our last home, the pets are enjoying it (for the most part), and we will have more space for our future family (no, not pregnant yet).

John ask for a quick update on CC2. The simple answer, John, is no, CC2 is not at zero yet. Because I get cash back, I used the credit card to pay for the movers. But, I get paycheck from both my old job and new job this week (get paid weekly with the new job, woot woot!), and I’ve barely spent any of the last paycheck, so I hope to have an affirmative answer to this by Friday! Also have a check from Ebates (just going to drop that referral link right here again) and have to deposit that. Only $20, but in this game every little bit counts.

After I get settled in, I’ll let you all know more about the move and how this changes the financial landscape and ability to pay my debts down going forward.

Hope you all have a happy week!

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’!

$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…

Ugh, Febuary

February was a bit of a brutal month.

I’ve expressed this sentiment before I believe, but there are times where I’m so overwhelmed with things to do, it paralyzes me. I just can’t seem to get anything done despite having a billion things to do between now and June 1. Wedding, dance recital, HOA treasurer stuff, the list never ends. I no sooner cross things off my list than something else pops up. I’ve become a psycho to-do list keeper- I have ones I write down that have immediate deadlines and ones I keep on my phone that have far-out deadlines. This psycho to-do listing has helped me out in the finance department. How?

Over the past weekend, I’ve started to write down extraneous things I need to buy that aren’t groceries. This has forced me to plan better and smarter when I need to buy those extra things. For example: I needed to buy some liners for my Litter Genie. My usual MO is to just buy it when I see it. This time, I wrote it down on my “To Buy” list, looked for a coupon, price compared online and decided to buy it at Target where I could get an almost two for one deal and use a gift card I had gotten for signing up for an online service. A $15.74 purchase turned into a $4.74 purchase. Also, writing down my “To Buy” purchases forces me to realize I don’t need it immediately. I can shop around until I find the best deal. A lot of the stuff on my list is stuff for the wedding, and while I’m trying to get it all done sooner rather than later (trying to curb that “I AM JUST SO OVERWHELMED!” feeling), I can shop smart. The trickle down effect- less money spent, more money towards paying down debt!

This didn’t come out of no where. February threw a wrench into my pay-down plan.

No sooner than I had written that I’m killing the cosmetic loan debt in March than I took my car in for its safety inspection in mid-February. And failed.

Driver’s side headlight and brakes failed. This means when I take it into my garage, I go ahead and get an oil change and they inspect everything else and find more things.

The rotors, luckily, were still in good shape. But, they found moisture in my brake fluid, so that needed to be flushed and changed. Filters needed to be changed. Valve cover gasket and struts are busted (I’ve known about the struts for a few years actually, I’ve just chosen to ignore them, they aren’t a necessary fix), but I declined those fixes, opting instead for them to lift the rear brakes to help the new front brakes last longer and rotated and balanced the tires as well. Battery is also running low on juice and they wanted to replace it, but I declined that $150 fix- I can do it on my own for $80.

Total damage- $665.45

And I put it on CC1.

I COULD have just used my debit card and pay for it all out of pocket, no damage to my credit cards done. But, I was in an emotional state when they told me, and draining that much money out of my bank account just seemed an unwise choice at the moment. Not to mention paying off the cosmetic loan and putting a chunk of money into savings for the wedding was in the back of my mind.

Today, before I transferred money into savings, I paid some of the new CC1 debt down as well as CC2. I put over $500 into savings, leaving $1000.00 even in the checking account from which I pay my debts. After paying the two credit cards this afternoon, I have an even $4500.00 in credit card debt and $1947.54 left to pay off on the Cosmetic Loan. I expect to make approximately $815 on my next paycheck from the full time job, and approximately $155 from the part time job, which would bring my checking account to ~$1970. Subtract $250 from that for my student loan payment and I’ll have around $1720, just a couple hundred short from paying off the cosmetic loan this month. 😦

I tried posting on Facebook my babysitting services for my friends to make some extra cash, but no bites. Of course, I am still waiting on the offer from my ace-in-the-hole (it feels like it’s taking forever!) and I might get a paid modeling gig soon. I’m also looking forward to a $90 drop in my 6-month car insurance premium in April (but I pay it monthly, so it’ll be about $15 less a month, but still money saved=money toward my debt). So, my hopes aren’t dashed yet. The continuation of my “To Buy” list I feel like is also vital to the pay-down since it’s forcing me to plan better, and the natural trickle down effect of reduced stress which means less impulse buying.

Stay tuned- things could always change in a matter of days (and (I’m hoping they do in a good way)!

Life

Sorry I haven’t been around much! Life is busy. I leave at 7:30 every weekday morning, return home 7 pm or later Mondays-Thursdays and after 5 pm on Fridays, and I am so wiped by the weekend that I don’t feel like doing much beyond Krav Maga, watching TV and playing with the pets. That doesn’t mean I’m not taking care of my finances, I do still take care of them [mostly]. But, because I haven’t been writing on my blog much, I don’t have myself and you, my audience, keeping me accountable as much as I need. I let little purchases slip through the cracks more often than I did even a few weeks ago. I suspect it has a lot to do with my not getting much sleep this month, adds to my everyday apathy (of all the adjectives that were used to describe me growing up, my family used “apathetic” the most.).

I did take one major step for my financial freedom. I contacted my ace-in-the-hole and as of yesterday have sent them what they need to make some financial determinations. I suspect I will hear from them within a few days. My biggest fear is I won’t get as much money as I’m expecting/hoping, that they’ll find a reason to negate everything. So, please say a little prayer that your pal, me, gets what I am hoping to get. And, for those of you who are salivating to know what this ace-in-the-hole is, I have decided to remain silent as to the full crux of the situation even after it’s resolved. You can blame my job, it has me pretty jaded and not wanting to give anyone any ideas.

I also did my taxes earlier this month. Got my refund last week, and every single penny is going to the wedding. Sorry, thought I would put it toward the debt??? Can’t, I’m trying to prevent future debt and have to pay many of my vendors by check, so I have to make sure I have the money to pay them!

I do believe paying off the cosmetic loan WILL happen in March. I did my naughty spending the last few weekends (an impromptu date night with a girlfriend, a night out with some other friends, some new tops and a facial I got on special) and have resolved that that’s it, full speed ahead! CC2 may be another story because I have put some wedding purchases on it such as the invites and favors as well as some medical expenses. But, again, pray that the ace-in-the-hole comes through and that I can pay off CC2 sooner rather than later!

I hope you all are doing well dear readers! Don’t forget to do your taxes- the sooner you file, the sooner you get your refund (if you get one)!