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’m Alive!

It’s been two weeks since I last wrote, and thought I would let you all know I’m alive, but barely kicking. It seems like the past two weeks have been nothing but “if it ain’t one thing, it’s another!” Stomach bug, new cat behaving badly and probably needs a vet trip, crazy busy schedule that may get crazier since a teacher at my part-time job broke her foot, kicking the wedding planning into high gear, it just keeps on going…

I have progress notes to share regarding my financial journey so far in 2013, but have not had the chance to get my thoughts together enough for a full blog post that is long overdue. I hope to get to that point in the next couple of days. I will say, wedding planning and the deposits that go along with it are setting things back. 😦 I did call my ace in the hole! BUT, the ace in the hole hasn’t returned my call yet. 😦

I hope everyone’s 2013 is off to a far smoother start than my own, though in my corner of the universe I seem to have a lot of friends having a rocky start too!

Paycheck Peeves

I debated writing this post, it really is just a rant, but it’s my blog and I can do what I want!

How would you react if not one, not two, but THREE jobs messed up your paycheck(s)???

Well, it’s happened to me!

I have been checking my bank account since last Friday to see if my part-time job had paid me yet. Friday, no paycheck. Monday, no paycheck. Figuring the holidays were screwing everything up, I checked again today and still NO paycheck had been direct deposited. I’m just thinking to myself, WTF? I went in today, and sure enough, my boss hadn’t submitted my time sheet before the holidays. Those hours won’t be paid until the 15th of this month.

😡

Then, this coming Friday I’m supposed to get paid at my full-time job. I was checking my time sheet (it’s all virtual) and sure damn enough, the office manager did not use any of my vacation hours to pay for the extra day off I took last week.

😡 x2!

AND, finally, I subbed for my friend’s pole studio at the beginning of December, and I have yet to receive a confirmation email that she had processed payment for me, like she normally does.

😡 x3!!!

I understand the holidays are stressful, and things get overlooked, BUT DUDE, ALL THREE JOBS?!? It’s mainly aggravating not because I *need* the money, but I *want* the money so that I can plan appropriately for my debt payoff. I like planning… I like it a lot. If I don’t know how much my paycheck will be or when I’m getting it, it completely throws off my ability to plan.

I also got a new medical bill today. Only $131.55, but still just the cherry to top off my annoying day!

I hope your 2013’s are off to a better, smoother financial start!

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.

Websites for Your Visiting Pleasure

I apparently have a lot of things to say today! I have been thinking about doing this post for a while, so time is ripe!

Great Websites to Visit and/or Sign up for (all free)!

Finaid.org: I can’t start this list without the big kid on campus when it comes to learning about student loans. Educate yourself before you educate yourself.

Debt Payoff Calculator: Visit this site to calculate what you need to do to pay off your debts

Credit Karma: Great website to track your credit score. This is a great motivator to get yourself to payoff debts.

Credit.org: This will direct you to their Educational Guides. Now, this company’s main product is a Debt Management Program, but I just want you to read the educational guides. They provide great advice.

Annual Credit Report: Get your annual credit report to make sure that everything is accurate and that you haven’t been the victim of identity theft over the past year. Don’t sign up for the sites that require you to “try” their credit monitoring and that crap- those are scams to take your money.

Envelope Budgeting Technique: Interesting way to do the envelope system. Her blog in general has a lot of frugal tips.

Pinterest: If you haven’t used Pinterest yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. Why include it on this list? There are a lot of great ideas on there that will help you learn how to make your own stuff that will help you save money. For example: I normally pay $6 for eye makeup remover that lasts a month, trying a recipe that cost $6 to make that should last me WELL over a year. That’s just one thing in hundreds that I’ve pinned that has saved me money. It’s also how I found the previous link.

One from a reader: Bill Shrink: Helps you find ways to save money on common expenditures and utilities.

I hope you find these websites helpful. If you have anymore that you like to frequent that has helped you with personal finance, please say so in the comments!

**Disclaimer: I was not nor have I ever been paid by any of those websites. Those websites are my own finds and are only as good as I think they are. Use at your own risk as using any site that collects data is a risk!**

Before You Take Out a Student Loan…

I was on Yahoo! homepage this morning, and this article popped up:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/9-unbelievable-student-loan-horror-stories-165512874.html?page=all
If you are considering taking out a ton of loans, read that article and read more stories at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/chime-in-on-private-student-loans/

If those stories don’t scare the sh!t out of you, then I don’t know what will.
I definitely discourage everyone from getting private loans. There is absolutely no regulation on their interest caps, and they can sink to low levels of scumbaggery when it comes to collecting debts. You can almost never discharge loans in a bankruptcy situation, so I really advise you students out there to think long and hard before taking out loans.

I’m not saying NEVER take out loans- it it’s the difference between needing an extra $1000 or staying out of school one semester, take the $1000 loan. Like I said in a previous post, taking out a loan can help improve your credit score, but a do it with a SMALL loan.

No school or program is worth the stress of the financial burden that student loans visit upon us. Read those stories if you somehow think you’ll be the exception to the rule. Our world is saturated with people who have a degree, therefore very few have qualifications that will make them invaluable to the companies they apply to, so no one is immune to the issues of those who posted their stories to Consumer Finance.

Our society is living longer and longer these days. Many people have waited until their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, I even heard about a gentleman that did a Physical Therapy Assistant program in his 80s, to go back to school. And I bet all those people were able to pay for school out of pocket because they waited, planned and saved. No one is holding a gun to your head, telling you to go to college or grad school immediately. Take your time, save your pennies, and you’ll save yourself stress, and interest, down the road.

I’m a Sucker

It finally happened- I have another cat! After years and years of my pining over the cute kittens at the local Petsmart, fiance saw one he liked enough to say “Okay, you can have another cat.” So, as of today, she lives with us!

What has this to do with my budget?

Well, there’s the adoption fee, the cost of feeding another mouth and the vet fees. As long as she’s healthy like my other cat, she shouldn’t be too expensive. I don’t have to worry about most of her shots and spaying, they’ve all been done, and that takes a huge burden of money off my shoulders.

But, of course, this money has to come out of something for now.

I had decided to just pay what I had budgeted on CC1 and didn’t add anything extra to the payment despite having a little bit of extra cash in the bank. I had actually decided to do this a few days before the possibility of adopting the kitten even came about. But, having the extra money in the bank allowed me to adopt her. So, there you have it. I continue on my steady path, with no hopes of early payoffs.

Comfortable

At this point, I have to say I’m comfortable. Yes, I wanted to get out of debt and quickly, but right now I’m comfortable with the pace I’m doing it at, hence why I didn’t invest more money into paying off the debt this month. Perhaps after the new year I’ll feel reinvigorated- I had wanted to bump up my student loan payments starting in January- but for now, the way I’m doing things is working for me. I know CC1 will definitely be paid off in December, CC2 and cosmetic loan…?

Other Hopes

Supposedly, the people at my new job received a decent bonus last year. However, with hiring two new doctors as well as yours truly, they aren’t expecting much this year. But, goodness only knows I’ve been working my butt off doing A/R’s and managed to bring in a few thousand dollars within a couple of days. I’m still hoping for a decent enough of a bonus to pay for Christmas gifts. Fiance and I agreed to a fairly modest Christmas budget for each other, so it helps to not feel so guilty and spending more because of that guilt.

I really need to clean up the rest of my house and get rid of things, so this time, for real, I’m going to post stuff on eBay. I have four uninterrupted days next weekend to get things done, I may as well take advantage of the fact and post stuff up. Also, a friend posted a pin on Pinterest regarding how to make extra money for the holidays. When I went to the link, the blog had 31 different ideas, so I think I’ll be implementing the first one I read, trading in stuff to Amazon for credit. I could use the credit to buy things for my nieces and nephews if I decide to not go the cash route with them. I don’t have high hopes for either method, but it has a double benefit of putting a little bit of cash in my pocket and getting rid of things.

In fact, I think I’ll sign off this post now and try that Amazon thing!