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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.

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.

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).

More unexpected cash and mom issues

November 22nd, 2011 at 07:16 pm

My mom gave me $110 for my student loans this month. She recently got laid off and hasn't been able to contribute anything for a while. Apparently, I gave her this $110 a while ago and she can't remember for what (and neither can I) so she just gave it back.

She knows how I'm trying to pay down my CC debt so this is her way of trying to help. I'll take it!


I made the final payment on my US Bank card so that's completely gone! Yay! I paid all of the Citicard off except for the rest of my work reimbursements. My plan is to go into the office tomorrow morning to pick up my work check, deposit it at the bank and stop by the post office (maybe go couponing as well).
Once the check clears, I'll pay the rest of Citi before the next statement to avoid interest(Dec 7).


So, I worry a lot about my mom. She has absolutely no savings and no retirement account to speak of (aside from Social Security which she thinks is enough). She got laid off at 53 but has little prospects for a job. She has very little skill - she was a cook/cleaner for a church. She does odd little things like errands for people, babysitting, and is a care taker for my neighbor next door. I think she probably nets $800 a month which is better than nothing but it's so stressful on her. Luckily, she owns the house and her car free and clear (she'll need a new car soon) so her expenses aren't huge on a month-to-month basis but she has no EF which terrifies me.

She is not handling being laid off well. Her attitude stinks and when I call her, she doesn't want to talk or just complains. Then she complains that I don't call her or see her enough. It's really frustrating. I'm trying to be sympathetic and the best listener I can be. I think it's hard on her because she's alone, too. My brother lives at home but he's not good for chatting like I am.

On top of that, her spending habits drive me nuts. Her idea of quality time is going out to eat. That's all she ever wants to do and it's never to cheap places like a sandwich shop or burrito place, it's always a casual dining restaurant at least. She spends $40, $50 bucks a pop probably 2-3 times a week. I just don't see how she can afford that lifestyle since she's out of work. She gets mad at me that I won't pay since I "have the money and a job." But I hate saying no because that's her idea of "quality time." So often, I don't say no but don't offer to pay for her meal and then she just pays for the whole thing. It's frustrating because I do have more money than she does but I don't choose to spend my money that way anymore.

So all of that to say: I invited her over on Sunday for a homemade turkey dinner (since I'll be at my boyfriend's family for Thanksgiving). I hope we can start a trend of eating in. I hope that will be the quality time she craves. I told her all about my freezer cooking escapades so I hope she starts cooking more stuff, too (she never cooks!).

Travel for work and other musings

November 4th, 2011 at 09:32 am

I have upcoming travel for work to Philadelphia. I'll be away from next Monday to Thursday. I'm excited because I get to indulge on the little things that I occasionally miss like Starbucks and FroYo. Plus all of my meals and other expenses are covered, too. And, I don't have to pay to park for 4 days out of this month which is a savings of $32! I will also charge all of the expenses and get reimbursed so I can rack up some CC rewards points! Yay!


I'm thrilled about my balance transfers. They are finally completed. I have a slight grace period since the billing cycle won't start for another month so I think I'll take the money I would use to pay those bills and try to eliminate the Citi and US Bank card this month. Once those are gone, my highest interest rate will be 1.99% and considering a month ago I was paying between 16.99% and 18.99%, I think that's pretty darn good! My goal is to pay them off well before the promotional periods are over!


I need to do some adjustments to my budget and figure out my new snowball with the new monthly credit card payments. Once I figure it out, I will know for sure what I should plan on paying extra. It was $410 before so I'm hoping it's a little higher now.


I've already paid all of my November monthly bills except for the large credit card payments so I know I won't mess up again and almost fall short. It's a relief to know that things are settled on that end. Since I'll be away next week for work (and the bf will, too). We won't need groceries or gas for the week. I think I'll be able to pay even more considering we'll be away for Thanksgiving, too.


Not much else to report on. I'm swamped with paperwork from my 2 accidents and I need to take my car to get it looked at again. Hopefully, this will resolve itself soon enough.

Starting PT

October 25th, 2011 at 08:47 am

I don't really have many financial updates to post. Well sort of...I got into a car accident last Sunday (rear-ended and the other guy drove off- can you believe that?). Since it was a hit and run and the police were called, his insurance accepted 100% liability right off the bat. They came last Friday for an estimate and wrote me a check on the spot for $472 for the damage to my bumper. The appraiser handed me my check and said it was my choice if I wanted to get it fixed. My car is a 1999 and I don't really care about cosmetic damage (you can barely tell anyway) so I decided not to get the bumper fixed. I needed to get two tie rods fixed, an alignment and an oil change so I took that check and it paid for everything and I still have $120 left over!

I went to the doctor on Monday because my back felt really tight and I had some lower back pain. They gave me some muscle relaxants and told me if I don't feel better in about a week, I should start PT. I called today since I felt pretty much fine over the weekend but when I'm sitting down at work, the pain comes back. I hope they do some massage therapy or something because it's really, really tight!


Not many other updates. I started freezer cooking two weekends ago. I made a meatloaf, lasagna casserole and beef burritos. They came out awesome! This weekend I made chicken and bow tie pasta, chicken alfredo w pesto, and chicken tikka masala. Again, everything is delicious. My problem is that I didn't really read the servings so now I have a TON of these meals. I froze about 1/2 and we'll eat the other half this week. I love that I can reheat leftovers, make a small salad and be done with dinner! I spent $60 each week for all of the weekly groceries plus the ingredients for all the freezer meals. I'm happy with that but I would love for our budget to go down to $40 a week (or less)! We buy a ton of fresh veggies and my BF loves deli meat (a very specific kind and no other will do). $7 for 3/4 pound is a lot of money in my opinion.


I think November will be easier financially. My balance transfers are DONE! I have a good plan set up for my payments and I have a bunch of found money to add to debt repayment this month. I'm hoping I can pay off Citicard and US Bank this month. That will bring me under $16k in CC debt.

Couponing, etc.

September 20th, 2011 at 09:25 am

The title of my blog is "Using Coupons to get out of Debt" and I've never talked about my plan for accomplishing getting out of debt by using coupons.

I've been couponing for just over a year and shop mainly at drugstores. Rite Aid and CVS are my two main stores. I take advantage of reward programs including rebates to turn drugstore money into cash. Since I never spend any cash (I put all my purchases on a gift card that I got for Christmas last year), it works out that I can take the cash from my rebate checks and deposit it into a separate savings account.

Since April, I've deposited $541.57. I have another $119.75 to deposit and another months worth of Rite Aid checks on the way ($120.95). My original plan for this money was to donate it to charity but I've since changed my mind to get myself closer to my financial goals. I'm content with my charitable contributions since I donate a good amount of what I buy at drugstores. In four months, I made $782.27 from couponing. That's more than half of my Discover card balance!

Another way I plan to use my couponing to get out of debt is to stock up on items that could be given as gifts. Baby products for showers, toiletries for gift baskets, etc. My plan is to take my budgeted gift allowance and put it toward debt. I recently went to a baby shower and gave a gift entirely out of my stockpile, I put $20 from my gift fund into my debt repayment.

I really want to cut our grocery bill down. Right now we spend $60-$80 a week for two people. I just can't figure how to coupon in grocery stores in our area! I'd be happy if we spent more like $40-$60 a week. Everything we buy is fresh produce, dairy and deli meat. My boyfriend is really picky so he won't eat different breads or English muffins or anything. Almost everything that we buy doesn't have coupons or alternate options. But, I'm going to put my nose to the grindstone to figure out how to cut down on groceries in my area.


So far this month, I have spend $63 from my piddly money. I used ~$20 of it to buy kitty litter and treats since I forgot to add those into my budget.

I have $87 left. I take the change from everything I spend and add that to my coin jar. I'm also going to take the money from my bottle and can redemptions and put it in the change jar. I roll my change every once in a while and I'll put that money toward debt.

My mom was able to come through with some student loan money for September. She just lost her job so she thinks this is the last time she'll be able to help. I told her that I'd rather her save it for herself but she insisted, saying that she'd mail the money herself if I didn't take it.

I have about $200 in my bank account that I'm hoping I can put toward the Discover card.

I have a few upcoming things in October that I need to plan for including a car repair and my annual car inspection that I need to get done. Total, I'll probably spend $200 which will come out of my miscellaneous budget.

I'm hoping the cruise doesn't push me over budget. I have enough money for our transportation to the pier. Everything is included in the purchase price of the cruise except the excursions. I'm not sure what we'll end up doing but I'm hoping it won't cost too much. I'm of the opinion to pick one fun activity like snorkeling or a tour and spend the other two days on the beach! We'll see what my family wants to do.