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Next steps

September 26th, 2013 at 01:56 am

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 07:42 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 5th, 2012 at 02:21 am

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 28th, 2012 at 03:16 am

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 02:42 pm

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 04:51 pm

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 20th, 2012 at 03:11 am

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 03:34 pm

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 04:44 pm

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 17th, 2012 at 03:41 am

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

Credit Score Increase

May 7th, 2012 at 08:54 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 09:36 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 08:34 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 03:44 pm

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 21st, 2012 at 03:37 am

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 03:47 pm

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 16th, 2012 at 03:30 am

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!

How I'm going to spend my bonus check!

January 14th, 2012 at 01:56 am

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.

More 2012 goals...

January 9th, 2012 at 07:12 pm

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 08:07 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!

December Additional Income

December 13th, 2011 at 03:37 am

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.

2012 Goals

December 9th, 2011 at 03:55 pm

As I've been reading other peoples blogs, I realized that I've never had financial goals. I think that since I grew up in a household where everything was always paycheck to paycheck, it never occurred to me that I could or should make goals. I don't really even know what kinds of goals I should make. Up until this point, my goals have always been to payoff debt. I have a feeling that it is going to happen much faster than anticipated so I'm excited about making some goals for 2012. I'm starting out conservatively:

Savings:
$2500 Emergency Fund
$1500 Car fund
$500 Christmas
Start $20 challenge

Debt repayment:
$5000 - pay off BoA and Discover

November 2011

November 30th, 2011 at 05:44 pm

I did pretty good this month. So far, I'm liking my plan to pay big chunks off of my debt at the end of the month so that I'm sure everything goes through correctly. I paid off about $1800 to debt this month. $935 to Citi (plus my work reimbursements), $308 to US Bank and $623.41 to BoA. That makes me at the $2k mark on that card! Yippee! I'm also under the $15k mark which is AMAZING!


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I just looked at some old financial records and I owed just over $35k in credit cards in 2007. Even though I haven't been 100% serious about it, I did pay off $10k in 4 years. It was a slow process (only $2,500 per year) but at least I wasn't gaining more debt or remaining in the same place which makes me happy. To think I paid off a similar amount of money in a few months makes me a little queasy but it is what it is! I'm happy to be below the $15k mark!


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I'm starting to think about my work bonus and raise. I'm hoping I get something decent this year. My company has struggled for the past two years since a good amount of our work comes from federal funding. Last year and the year before, we had to take furlough days (unpaid days off) which decreased our salaries for a total of about 9 months. Last year, we came out with a profit (my company does profit sharing) so I ended up with a bonus check that pretty much covered my unpaid days off. We haven't had to take furlough days and we are having a holiday party this year so it looks good. I think we are in a good spot financially so I'm hopeful!

My responsibilities have also increased dramatically so I hope to get a good raise. I'm planning on asking for a raise no matter what so I'm hoping to get something good!

Rear-ended AGAIN!

October 28th, 2011 at 08:34 pm

I got rear-ended AGAIN today by a woman as I was pulling onto the highway. At least she stopped and exchanged information, etc. I need to go get an estimate on the damage and call her back with the amount. If she doesn't want to pay to have it fixed, we'll go through insurance. UGH. More paper work and people to pay for.