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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!

----

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.