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Next steps

September 25th, 2013 at 06:56 pm

I have been so focused on paying off my credit card debt over the past two years that I almost feel like I don't know what to do with myself now.

Some major changes have happened since I last posted. My BF and I are buying a house - we close on Friday. We are combining finances and I have a lot of financial changes coming up.

We decided that I'll be handling the finances. I want to set up a budget for us and talk about our financial goals for the next few years. That will help me set us up for success going forward.

My immediate goals are to fully fund both of our ROTHs. We have already contributed a good amount so that shouldn't be hard. I now have $1000 (about half of my monthly income) freed up - I was using all of my extra money to pay off those CCs. I did a budget when we first were talking about buying the house and I think we'll have between $2-3k every month to work with. BF and I have student loan debt to work through so I'm hoping we can get some of that taken care of soon.

I am credit card debt free!!!!

September 4th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

It's been a really long time since I've posted and I've had some ups and downs with debt repayment. But I'm here to say that I finally paid off all of my credit card debt. I currently owe $0.

The feeling is incredible. Since my last post, my boyfriend and I have bought a house and will be moving next month. I'm so happy to have a clean slate to start our new lives together.

I just looked at my first post to see what I was paying every month. I can't believe I used to pay $785 just in credit card debit. I feel so free!!!

Thanks for all of your support throughout the process.

June isn't going so well.

June 4th, 2012 at 07:21 pm

We're only a few days in to the month but June isn't going so well so far. I'm not sure of the damage but I feel like I spent a lot of my piddly money. I also realized I have a graduation party and baby shower to buy gifts for. They will be really, really small gifts that I can hopefully supplement with coupons.

I returned an item that hasn't cleared yet so I'm hoping it will clear so I know how much extra money I'll have (I'm not sure if they'll return the shipping costs).

I have to calculate my $20 challenge money but I'm pretty sure I haven't had NSDs at all since last week. I'm kinda bummed about that but it seems like everyday I needed to buy something - one day it was only a stamp!

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I'm setting a new goal for myself. My brother and I have been talking about it for a few weeks now but we want to go on a trip to Europe sometime in the next year. If I can pay off my Chase card by the end of August, I will take the leap and go.

Even though finances are tight, we are talking a bare bones budget: hostels, cheap flight, no souvenirs or tours or anything. We really just want to make our way through Europe and see what happens. I'm delighted at the idea. We haven't done a trip just the two of us. I have a savings bond that will mature when I'm 30 (I'm 28 now) so I'm considering cashing that in for the trip. I know it's what my great aunt (who gave it to me) would have wanted me to do with the money and it won't require taking any money away from debt repayment. Taking it out a year early isn't a huge loss from the interest that it's gaining.

I think this will be a nice treat and something that I am already really looking forward to. I hoping we can get by at about $2500 per person for a 2 week trip. I think it's very doable when I consider the costs of hostels, etc.

Scatter brained post!

May 27th, 2012 at 08:16 pm

I hate when I type a post and it gets eaten by the internet! I had a much more thoughtful post but it didn't submit correctly so here's the abreviated version.

I added $4.24 (rounding) and $2 (NSDs -Wed and Thursday) to my $20 challenge. I actually decided I'm going to round the additions as well so I transferred $7 today. (5-26)

I submitted for $50 Dividend check from my Citicard (earned through work travel). Since it's 100% reimbursed, I got $50 of free money. I also submitted for a $25 check from a survey company as well so I'll be seeing those checks soon.

I have $154 from rebate checks and $42 from selling odds and ends from my stockpile. I often offer friends to come take a look and grab items from my stockpile. One friend won't just take the items and she insists on giving me cash so I earned some $$. Works for me!

I decided I'm going to increase my piddly budget to $200. I'm coming in really close to meeting the $150 but I've been slightly over some months. While it's a major improvement on my spending in the past, I want to be reasonable to myself. Psychologically, spending $20 over is worse for me than coming in at $30 under. I don't plan on increasing my spending, just adding in some wiggle room. Of course, $200 might be a reasonable number for me. If it is, I'm 100% okay with that.

Debt repayment looks good. I'm getting $125 from work, $313 from dad from some cash he owes me and I have $271 from rebates so I'll have about $700 to pay to my Chase card soon! Yay!

Gotta get those NSDs back!

May 22nd, 2012 at 07:42 am

I spent $6.xx on a skein of yarn and a set of knitting needles last night. I didn't think I had my 40% coupon with me but it turns out it was in the bottom of my purse. I'm going to go back and rebuy the needles with the coupon and return the originals. The yarn only cost $1.89 and the needles were $4.49ish. That'll save me a couple of dollars.

I also spent $14 on dinner out with a good friend for her birthday. We had a BOGO coupon for our entrees and splurged on desserts.

May is a big month in terms of birthdays and other events like Mother's Day, etc. I'm hoping I can stick to my piddly budget. I have about $40 left until next Thursday. Doable.

Spendy weekend

May 21st, 2012 at 09:51 am

We bought groceries and I went couponing yesterday (just two transactions). I didn't spend money on couponing since I used a gift card so no real spending there but I spent $68.97 on groceries.

I also spent money on Saturday: $2.44 and $.75 cents for some grocery items. I paid mostly with coupons. It was a good trip!

Yesterday was BFs birthday. We went out to dinner to celebrate. It cost $63.50. $50 went on a gift card and the rest I paid out of pocket. We really enjoyed the restaurant. The food was delicious and we had plenty of leftovers for another meal. I'm not sure if we'd go there again since it was rather expensive. If we were paying, we probably wouldn't have ordered drinks and an appetizer so I bet it'd be more affordable.

We also went to a fabric store to get yarn and needles for a knitting project I'm starting up for BFs niece (who is due to arrive on Aug. 13). I paid $12 for 6 balls of yarn and a pair of knitting needles. I did three transactions using 3 50% off one item coupons. BF and my mom were with me so I could use more than 1. It should have cost almost $25 so I saved about $13. I still need to buy 3 more balls of yarn at $5.99 each. I have 3 40% off coupons I can use which will make each ball $3.59. I will pay about $25 for the materials to make 2 blankets! I think that's pretty awesome for a handmade gift.

We also went to Lowe's because BF is planning on building his niece a toy chest and wanted to buy a table saw. He actually has wanted to buy one for a long time but he's biting the bullet now so that he can make a gift for his niece (which I think is adorable)! He didn't buy anything but we looked around. I think he'll buy something soon to get cracking on his projects soon; he's also building me a storage unit for my coupons!! Smile

I'll round up my purchases to put in my $20 challenge. If I pay cash, I'll be keeping the change in my change jar for debt reduction. In this case, I paid cash for everything except the groceries so only .03 cents toward the $20 challenge. (5-20)

Totals:
Groceries (Sat): $3.19
Groceries: $68.97
Fabric store: $12.81
Restaurant: $13.50

Buying a camper

May 19th, 2012 at 08:11 pm

BF and I are looking into buying a pop up camper. A friend of mine is selling one for about $2000. We've been thinking about getting one to take up to Maine to put on his sister's property for the summers. It would be a nice way to get away cheaply. It would cost about $75 a year to register and only $25 for insurance.

We're going to take a look at it the weekend after memorial day. If we spend 20 nights in it, it will pay for itself in 3 vacations. I'm hoping this will help us explore the areas around us more and do some light camping on the weekends.

Psychologically, it helps my stress level to know that we are planning to go away. Not having any trips or breaks planned makes me anxious.

BF will probably pay for 75% and I'll pay 25%. He'll register and insure it since he'll need to tow it with his truck.

The nice thing is that I can pay BF over time without pressure. I usually pay $500 a month in debt repayment so I'll probably pay BF $250 in June and $250 in July. It will slow down debt repayment but it's worth reducing my stress level.

Spent Money Yesterday

May 19th, 2012 at 08:34 am

I spent money yesterday:

$2.56 on coffee
$7.26 on lunch out
$29.57 for a birthday gift

That leaves me with $63.61. I still need to get a gift for BF whose birthday is tomorrow.

NSD and Piddly money update

May 18th, 2012 at 09:44 am

I had another NSD yesterday so $1 to the challenge and .74 from two transcations on my debit card (CC payment and gas). I'm up to $10.70 in my challenge. I'm putting it all in my ING account. (5-18)

I have $100 in piddly money left for the month. I bought a coffee this morning spent a few dollars in cash on my work trip that will be reimbursed.

I recently submitted for a $25 check from Synovate and a $50 check from my Citi Dividends program. I always charge work trips onto my credit card and pay it off immediately after I get reimbursed to get the Dividend dollars. I earned $10 this month by charging my hotel and flights (~$1000). The extra cash will go to debt reduction.

I'm hoping to send another couple hundred to Chase this month from those rewards and some rebate checks from couponing.

Two more no spend days

May 16th, 2012 at 08:41 pm

I didn't spend anything yesterday or today so $2 more to the challenge!

I also made a payment of $1000 to the Chase card. I'm down to $6860 in credit card debt!

Making progress all the time Smile

No spend days/$20 challenge

May 15th, 2012 at 11:08 am

I decided I should start up my $20 challenge. Here are my "rules."

No spend days = $1 to the challenge
Loose change at the end of the week
Any extra money from sources other than couponing (extra money from couponing - rebates, etc. - will still go toward debt reduction)
I'll round up all debit card transactions to the next $1. I only use my debit card for gas and groceries so I anticipate a few dollars a month

I didn't spend anything yesterday so I'm adding my first $1 to the challenge. I have $5.96 to add to the challenge from my $1 rounding. (5-14)

Getting back on track

May 14th, 2012 at 07:40 am

The past couple months have been challenging for me financially. I let go of some of my frugal tendencies and reverted back to my old ways (not entirely but some). I didn't take out my spending money so I used my debit card instead of cash. I don't know exactly how much I slipped up but I do know a few things:

I still met my debt payment goals.
I maxed out my 2011 Roth.
Paid off my Discover bill with my tax return (about $3500).

Even though I fell off the wagon a little bit, I got back on for the month of May. I took out my piddly money at the beginning of the month and have been eating out way less. I've been bringing my lunches to work and making sure our groceries are being eaten, not throwing things away.

I took out $150 at the beginning of the month and I still have $107 left. The month is almost half over. My variable expenses for the month are a few gifts for friends with birthdays this month. I'll also probably go get a pedicure with a gift card that I got for Christmas. I'll just need to pay the tip.

I'm couponing for gas rewards. The other day, mom and I filled our tanks for $2.75 per gallon. I'm using coupons to get our gas cheaper. I paid $28.29 to fill my tank!

I have a bunch of money to deposit into my accounts:
$500 from my brother for bills
$40 in rebates
$89 in birthday money
$150 from a friend (debt repayment)
$10 in change
$468.85 work reimbursement

I need to pay a few bills (student loan and cell phones) but I will still have about $500 to put toward my Chase card.

I'm going to redo my budget and be more vigilant about my spending for next month. I should be able to make bigger payments to my credit cards considering how much lower my minimum payments are. I'm really trying to pay off these credit cards by July 28th!

Credit Score Increase

May 7th, 2012 at 01:54 pm

My credit score last June or July was about a 680. It increased to 733 in August and dipped back down to 709 for about 8 months.

I just got an email that my score was ready for May and it is a 721! This is my first jump in quite a while so I'm excited. I need to pull my credit report and go through it with a fine tooth comb. I want to close out old stuff; I know I have a few store cards like JC Penney and Kohl's that I don't use, want or need. The credit limits are low so I'm not afraid of it affecting my credit score by a lot.

I also want to simplify my life and I feel like this is a good way to get my financial life a little more streamlined.

Yay!

Discover Paid Off

April 27th, 2012 at 02:36 pm

Made a payment of $3460.00 to Discover today. It should post on Monday. I'm so excited to be well under $10k! I now owe $8425 to credit cards. Could I pay the rest off by my one year SA blogging anniversary? I'd need to pay it all off by July 28th. It's a bit of a stretch but if I come into any cash that I wasn't expecting, it might happen! I'd be happy getting it paid off by the end of the year!

For the record: $16,649.08 in credit card debt is GONE!

I used to make $785 a month in minimum payments. Now it's $110. $675 a month is going directly to principal! I couldn't be happier right now.

Taxes Filed

April 12th, 2012 at 01:34 pm

I filed my taxes today at H&R Block. I'll be getting back $4118 from Federal and $358 from state. I'm so excited about that. I kept really good records of my donations to charity this year and donated in excess of $20,000. It cost $247.50 to have my taxes prepared including a $35 fee for audit protection. Well worth it in my book. The tax preparer was awesome!

Now I have $4476 to figure out what to do with. I'll stew on it for a while! I'm thinking I'll go ahead and pay the Discover off and put the rest toward my savings goals. Not entirely sure though. I'm just glad to have it off of my plate and submitted!

Roth Funded

April 12th, 2012 at 08:44 am

Going to get my taxes done today. I'm nervous. In 2011, I donated $22k worth of items. I have no idea how that is going to factor into my return. I'm having it done with audit protection at H&R Block. No matter what it costs, it will be worth it to me to feel okay that a tax professional knows the rules and I will have protection if I get audited. I'm hoping for more than my typical return. I usually get about $2k so anything more than that would be awesome!

I just sent over the last transfer for my Roth. I started at the end of January and got $5k funded easily! Yay! I'm hoping I can average an extra $5k every 4 months. If so, I'll have my CCs paid off this year with no problem.

Trying to decide how I want to use my tax return. I could fund my car fund and some of my EF or Christmas with it (depending on how big it is). Or I could pay off part of the Discover CC. I might do that to ensure I can pay it off before October when the interest increases.

I really need to take a look at my budget/bank account to figure out if my budget is working. I think I might need to increase my gas/groceries. I'm not sure where the extra cash will come from. We also need to get back into cooking in advance and eating in. BF and I have been bad about that.

2011 Roth hit $4k

March 20th, 2012 at 08:37 pm

I just made another deposit into my bank account and transfered the cash into my 2011 Roth. I now have just about $4000! I know it will pay off to have retirement funds saved early on so I continue to be happy with my decision to get the account starte and funded. I've deposited $3k between mid Jan and mid March; quite an accomplishment if you ask me.

I'm still on target to meet my credit card goals for the end of the year/beginning of next. After I fund the Roth, I'll average about $500-$750 a month to credit card payments on top of the minimums that I already pay. Factor in my tax return and I'll probably be able to pay the Discover off by June or July.

I've been having some horrible wrist pain and have an appointment with a specialist tomorrow morning. Hopefully whatever she recommends will be covered by my insurance!

Feeling good financially

March 15th, 2012 at 08:47 am

Hi all!

I definitely still have some work to do but I feel pretty good financially right now. I just deposited $1200 into my savings and have another $900 to deposit soon. Once I have it all in my bank account, I'll transfer to my Roth, bringing me up to $3000 for 2011. My goal is to max out the 2011 Roth. Hopefully, I can meet this goal and not need to rely on BF to help me out. I think it's doable but it means, I need to stay frugal.

One area I haven't been so good in is sticking to my monthly piddly allowance. I've already spent the $150 for March - the problem was that I took it out before March actually started so I spent more than I'd hoped. I'm only allowing myself dinner/coffee out when I have gift cards (BF gave me a half used Starbucks card that I will treasure this month)!

The March bills are all paid so I'm hoping to just coast for the rest of the month without spending anything extra. I have $330 left for groceries and gas which should do me just fine (I anticipate spending about $180).

Struggling to stay financially focused...

February 15th, 2012 at 07:30 pm

My last post was about how January was coming to an end. It's already midway through February and I haven't really thought about finances at all. In fact, I've been scatterbrained about paying my bills on time. I have fallen off of the proverbial band wagon. Slightly.

To wrap up January, I transferred another $500 to my 2011 Roth. Right now I have $1637 in the account (another $100 came out of my checking automatically).

I haven't made any additional payments to my credit cards; just the minimums until I max out my Roth. I've been paying my bills as the deadlines come up. I pretty much know them by heart so I log in to make payments when they're coming up.

I haven't stuck with my piddly budget this month. I know exactly why: I revert back to bad habits when I'm stressed. Boy am I stressed! Work is insanely busy for me right now. I work late, weekends, etc. I'm so busy I sometimes forget to take breaks, drink enough water, and eat regularly. It's really bad.

So, I buy more coffee and lunch out. I'm so tired, I don't want to pack lunches/prepare for things in advance. I also feel the need to treat myself to things I don't really need. Bad, bad, bad. It could be way worse: it's only been about 2 weeks. I'm trying to right these wrongs so February isn't a total loss! I think I probably spent $50-$100 more than I would have liked. I need to actually do my budget to know for sure which I plan to do this weekend.

So, all that to say, I miss this place and I need to start following these blogs again. It makes me see that people are also frugal and it makes me accountable!

Jan coming to an end

January 21st, 2012 at 01:15 pm

The bills are all paid. I paid off BoA and two small credit card balances from Christmas. I also put $1000 to my Roth. I have about $20 waiting to clear on my checking for a prescription.

I have $140 in my purse to deposit into my checking, $90 coming back into checking from Paypal (two returns from Christmas), $62 coming from my mom for car insurance and $140 from Rite Aid rebates. Nick is going to "buy" a couple gift cards from me for $100. That's about $550 I'll send to Roth at the end of the month. Smile

Gas and groceries for the rest of the month will come from gift cards.

Plan to max Roth for 2011:
I already have $1000 in the account
I have $550 set aside
I set up monthly contributions of $100 so that'll be $300 by April 17th.
37% of the way there.

I'll need to average $1050 between now and April 17th. I'll probably file my taxes somewhere in there so it should be no problem at all. I just talked to my boyfriend about borrowing money for my bills if I see that I don't have enough by April 17th. I'm thrilled to have a plan to pull this off!

Now that I have a Roth IRA, I don't know what to do with it!

January 20th, 2012 at 09:02 am

So I easily opened my Roth with Fidelity the other day. I transferred $1,000 into it with the leftover bonus money instead of paying Discover extra. I realized I'm better off maxing my Roth for 2011 and worrying about the CC debt later. I think I'll be fine paying them off before the interest increases so it makes more sense to me.

But now I have this Roth and no idea what to do with it. My Traditional IRA is also with Fidelity and they do all the work with it. I've seen it steadily increase over time but there are people trading, etc. I put the money into a Freedom 2050 account and am being aggressive with the money since I'm young.

I need to do a lot more research on my IRA. Looking at basic investment account information, I know I want a Roth but I don't know how or what to invest in or if I need to do any work at all.

That'll be my project for this weekend. I'm also talking to my BF, trying to get him to also get a Roth and fund it by April. He has the cash sitting in his account so it wouldn't be too hard for him. Open account, transfer money. In fact, he could fully fund 2011 and 2012 right now and pay off his truck and student loan if he had the motivation to make the transfers. It might take more prodding then I think.

Opened a Roth IRA account!

January 18th, 2012 at 08:19 am

After reading a post about retirement contributions, I decided that I wanted to change my debt repayment schedule. In order to maximize my newly opened Roth IRA account, I will still pay my credit card minimums but max my 2011 contributions of 5k.

I will make this another 2012 savings goal as well. I've always known that I wanted to contribute more to my retirement but wasn't sure how or when to do so. I'm confident I will still meet my goal of paying off my debt by next June and contributing to my retirement and other savings goals.

Under 12k in CC debt!

January 16th, 2012 at 07:52 pm

I made my final payment to BoA today. It should post tomorrow. That's another credit card: GONE! I'm so excited. As I mentioned before, I have a feeling my goals to pay these cards off will go much faster than anticipated.
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I've been doing well using the gift cards mentioned here: http://gettingoutofdebt2011.savingadvice.com/2011/12/20/gift-cards_88461/

So far, I used $125 to pay for gas and groceries. I transferred all of that to savings from my checking account to put to CC debt. It feels good to be using these cards for good things instead of just using them for fun. I have about $1000 left in my savings that I can use to make a big payment to my next card: Discover. That'll put me at about $2800. It would be awesome if I can get under $2500 this month. We'll see; it might happen. Smile

And on that note, I'm under $12k in credit card debt. Big Grin

When I started in August I owed $25301.28. I've paid $13698.64 in 6 months!!!!!!! What an incredible feeling.

How I'm going to spend my bonus check!

January 13th, 2012 at 05:56 pm

I just bought a GPS for $109. My bf found me a great deal on a Garmin Nuvi. It was on sale and we had a coupon code for $40 off. It retails for $249 so I'm happy with that price!
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I'm making a payment on Monday (once I deposit the check) for the BoA balance of $1208.01. So that leaves me with about $900. I also have an extra $300 from rebates. I think I'm going to use the $1200 and pay a big payment to Discover. I'd love to get Discover under $2500 this month, if possible.
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That said, I feel like SUCH a fool for not paying off this debt sooner. I really did feel like I never had enough money and was never going to pay the cards off. Now that I'm serious, it feels SO easy. Sometimes, I'm annoyed that it took me so long and other times, I'm glad I figured it out at all.

Holiday bonus check finally came!

January 10th, 2012 at 10:05 am

My boss gave me my 2011 holiday bonus check last night. It was for $2900 pre-tax, $2200 after taxes!!!! I'm super excited! I was hoping for something in this range and I'm glad our company is doing so much better than we've done in the previous two years. I've already earmarked at least $1200 for debt repayment (goodbye BoA). I'm debating on whether or not I want to put the rest towards EF, car fund, or more debt repayment. I'm going to crunch some numbers tonight and figure out where I stand for the rest of January. That'll help me decide how I should use the rest of the money.

I am planning on one small splurge: a GPS. I've needed one for a long time!

Now, I'm excited to see what my tax refund is!

More 2012 goals...

January 9th, 2012 at 11:12 am

Aside from my financial goals, I'm adding some other goals to my list for 2012.

Lose 5 pounds
Drink 50 oz of water a day (empty my water bottle twice)
Take yoga class once a week
Save more money at the grocery store with coupons
Make more meals at home
Save $25 in piddly money every month and put towards Christmas 2012
Keep better track of my passive income
Make blog posts twice a week
Start $20 challenge

Advice: Getting on the same financial page as your partner...

January 5th, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I'm not sure if I mentioned on here before that I moved in with my boyfriend in July/August. The living together part has been awesome! We love spending a lot of time together especially cooking. I was kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop but the adjustment hasn't been hard at all. We are both laid back and supportive of each others wants and needs. It's been pretty seamless.

We will be moving again next summer since his job is relocating so I'm sure we will start having more conversations about finances. It's got me thinking about our financial situation. I want to talk about our financial goals early and often but I don't know what to even talk about!

We're not entirely on the same page financially. For instance, he makes considerably more money than I do and has a large amount of money saved (~$50k). He leaves it all in his checking account. I would be doing so much with that money if I had it!!! I don't know exactly what because I have no real knowledge about stock/investments, etc. But I would at least have it in a CD or high yield savings!

Our apartment is much nicer than I can really afford. We have an agreement that I would only pay a portion instead of splitting it. I have mentioned downgrading (within reason) to something less nice (our apartment is beautifully furnished with stainless steel, granite countertops, etc.). We don't really need all of that extra stuff but he doesn't really want to. He makes well over $100k per year and doesn't mind spending $1450 (or more) per month on rent. I would rather live in an apartment that's less nice and save for a house. It would be awesome to have a HUGE down payment.

He really wants me to pay off my debt so that's been my/our financial focus. He told me that he's really proud of me for doing so well and I am really proud of myself. Once this debt is paid off, I'd love to put all of my income into savings ($45k per year) and rely solely on his income to support us. That savings could help buy a house or support our family so that I can stay home when we have kids.

I really want to get on the same page as him. Any advice? Did any of you have differing financial goals/expectations before settling into a commitment with your partners? I'd be curious to know how it worked out, etc. Thanks in advance for any insight!

Gift Cards

December 20th, 2011 at 07:37 am

I have a bunch of gift card rewards at home that I want to turn into cash. Most of them are Visa/Mastercard/American Express cash cards but I also have a Walmart gift card.

(5) $10 Kimberly Clark Cars2 (Huggies)
(4) $10 P&G Pink Mail in Rebates
$100 Walmart gift card (Gift)
$50 Visa Gift card (Gift)
(2) $10 Amex Gift Cards (CVS promotion)
(3) $25 Amex Gift cards (store promotion)
(2) $25 Mastercard Gift Cards (Prilosec Rebates)
=$375 which is almost my entire grocery/gas monthly budget

My plan is to use the gift cards to buy groceries and gas and then make a $375 payment to my credit card du jour. The only annoying thing is that they are split into smaller amounts so that could be frustrating. I'll try to use the smaller amounts at the gas station so I'm the only one inconvenienced (could be more hassle at the grocery store).

December Additional Income

December 12th, 2011 at 07:37 pm

I am big into rebates recently. I'm trying to get as much cash as I can to pay off my credit cards by taking advantage of rebates when items are free after coupons and store rewards. I send checks to my mom's house and she cashes them for me. In exchange, she gets anything from my stockpile that she wants so win-win.

Anyway, mom found three rebate checks that she never cashed totaling $62. The technically were expired (no longer valid after 90 days) but the bank took them and they cleared so I have an extra $62 bucks! YAY!

I also have another $100 from Rite Aid rebates in my wallet waiting to be cashed.

My dad came through with $400 for this month and my mom paid me $50 she owed me. I'm hoping to get at least a $500 payment off to BoA this month (hoping my total will be under $1500 by year end).

In addition, I have $270 in gift cards (all Visa or Mastercard) that I want to get into cash for bills. My plan is to buy gas and groceries with the money and put the cash toward my bills.

Plus my brother owes me $300.

That puts me at $1182. Goal for BoA = doable.

Christmas Expenses

December 12th, 2011 at 09:36 am

My Christmas budget has been $500 or less for the last few years. Last year, I went for $100 or less and it was a huge success since my big gift to the women of my family was professional photos of us kids/grandkids taken by my boyfriend. The photos were free (...I bought my boyfriend lunch!) and the frames were free at Rite Aid. So it was pretty easy to spend less than $100 last year. I also did stockings with all of my couponing stuff that I got for free.

This year, I'm going with the $500 budget (almost half of that goes to my boyfriend's gift). My family has been increasingly hard to buy for and we don't do a huge Christmas. I've put off some shopping since I have no idea what to get. My biggest hurdle is my mom. I want to get her something she'll use and love but I can never think of anything. I have a small list of people (only 7):

Grandmother: Hershey Bars (she literally told us she will take nothing else)
Brother: Star Wars DVD
Boyfriend: keg kit
Uncle: customized sweatshirt
Goddaughter: Justice gift card
Aunt: Kohl's gift card
Mom: ?

Stocking gifts:

Grandmother: Centrum, Polident
Brother: M&Ms, Oreos
Boyfriend: rolling pin, fleece sweatshirt
Uncle: flossers
Goddaughter: shampoos, conditioners, nail polish
Aunt: flossers
Mom: extension cord

Non- family:
Godson: PJs, T shirt, toy
Boyfriends family: 3 gift baskets from couponing stuff

I have most of the gifts picked out, I just need to go buy the stuff. All of the money comes out of this month's pay so no credit cards or dipping into savings.


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