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!

Ace in the Hole

My ace in the hole came through! I didn’t get as much cash as I expected, but I did get enough to pay off all but $300 of CC2!

That brings me to:

CC1: $1104

CC2: $300

And CC2 will probably be zero by the end of the week, after I’ve had a chance to balance the budget.

If I don’t have the entirety of my credit card debt paid off by December, then I’m doing something majorly wrong. I’ve barely spent money, I just pay, pay, pay as money rolls in to the credit cards, and soon I will be commanding a higher salary. I’ve also taken on some private lessons and I will be shortly leaving for a babysitting gig. These credit cards do not stand a chance! I just need to keep my focus, especially with the prospect of furnishing a house coming just around the corner. We are trying to come up with a plan on furnishing our home that won’t break the bank but still get nice, sturdy pieces that will last us a long time.

Another Website

Salt put me on to another website in the debt pay down realm- SaveUp. It easily linked to ALL of my accounts, no problem, within minutes. It also gives you credits for saving and paying down debt which you can use towards entering in for prizes (certificates of deposit, cash, jackpots, loan payments, vacations, etc.). I love the concept, it is already high on my list since it was so easy to link my accounts and if I actually do win some prizes, even better!

Why do I keep on endorsing these sites? Because as much as I like the idea of making a personal budget and forcing myself to spend in a certain way, it just doesn’t happen. These sites allow me to see EVERYTHING in one picture, so if you’re like me, you always need new tools to discover and help you in fighting your debt. Someday I’ll develop a true sense of self-discipline and create a beautiful spreadsheet of expenditures, but it hasn’t happened yet and until I do, I like these websites that help out!

 

And, by the way, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I suck!

I just have a bad habit of disappearing these recent months! I have a lot of good reasons though, I promise.

Quick Debt Profile for you:

CC1: $1076 and some change (it was at $600 until this morning when I had to buy a new laptop)

CC2: $4059 and some change

So, what’s been going on and why aren’t those numbers lower?

Well, like I said, I had to buy a new laptop. My old one is still working, but barely, and that just isn’t allowing me to do the things I need to do. So, before it really kicks the bucket, I wanted to get a new laptop so that I can have some time transferring files.

Another reason is because we have been feverishly trying to fix up our house. We had an amazingly awesome turn of luck and sold it without having to put it on the market! We still have some stuff to do, though, to bring it up to snuff for the buyer, so there has been a lot of buying paint and other supplies, paying contractors, etc., to meet the contingencies. Sooooo, this means the obvious.

We bought a house!

Bigger, better, will meet our needs, current and future, better than our current home. We are purchasing the house on husband’s name and using some of the equity of this house to make a down payment. We are using another portion of it to create an emergency fund, and the rest husband is using to buy a bigger car (no, I’m not pregnant).

With the selling and buying of a home, it threw our finances into sharp relief, so we really talked (and fought a bit) over my financial situation. Husband put his foot down and said I absolutely needed to find a better paying job so that I can help more with the household expenses. With reluctance because I have only been with my current job a little over a year, I searched.

And applied.

And got an interview.

And got a job.

A job that pays me around 11k more annually than my current job.

So, after a night’s sleep and a discussion with my office manager, I put in my notice and accepted the job. I start the same week we close on the new house.

Needless to say, the past month and a half have been me doing those little things to fix our current house and packing. The silver lining is that because we are moving, the only spending I’m doing (besides the laptop) is groceries and house fixes. Husband has been covering a vast majority of the latter, but I help where I can. Since we have had a few honest discussions about my debt, he is on board with me at least paying the credit cards off ASAP. The new job will help too since it’ll be an extra $300 a paycheck approximately. I expect CC1 debt paid off by the end of the year, CC2 hopefully by March. Oh, by the way, I finally called my credit card company and asked for reduced interest rates on both credit cards and was rewarded lower rates by 4% each. Not a ton, but still it will help!

ALSO, I have heard from my ace-in-the-hole. I don’t have much time left to act on it, but with transferring my responsibilities at my current job, I will have time to call this week and check on the current status and hopefully it will be resolved within the next two weeks, which would mean extra money to pay off the credit cards. Maybe even pay them off completely before my above projections. I just won’t hold my breath in case it doesn’t turn out the way I expect.

I hope you all understand. With two major life events happening so soon, I have been a bit distracted. Both have been a blessing though in so many ways that I’ve really had to focus on the finish line for both of them and neglect my blog. It’s been a big year, and I’ll keep you all updated as much as I can over the coming weeks. 2014 will hopefully be the year I can REALLY focus on that student loan, but for now it continues to go on the back burner.

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!

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…