Thursday, December 8, 2011
So, I don't want to jump the gun or anything.... but I may not owe on my taxes next year! I received an email today that Turbo Tax opened up their 2012 tax forms online. I had already calculated out what my W-2 "should" look like by the end of the year, so I had the basic numbers all set to input. Imagine my surprise when the top right corner, where a possible refund could be, actually had green numbers up there!
I have been dreading, planning, and anticipating seeing the evil RED numbers showing how much I would owe. We have it budgeted to set aside around $4K for taxes next spring. Holy crap, we may not need to do that! I would honestly be happy to break even and just not owe, that would mean we are doing it right. I was so nervous because of the fiasco we had earlier this year where we ended up owing for the first time ever - $7K in taxes! Because I had to play with my deductions so I could come up with the money to pay those taxes, I was sure I screwed myself into having to owe again. It looks like that may not be the case.
I won't count my chickens before they are hatched though, my quick calculations didn't include the hubby's income from this year. I'll have to play around with what he made at each job (3 of them) and enter that in too. That could be a game changer if it bumps us up to a higher tax bracket. We'll see though. For today, I have a smile on my face, thinking of other things we could do with that $4k instead!
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Way to go!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I did a little holiday shopping over the last week or so. The other night my best friend asked where I got her boxwood tree for Christmas a few years back. She was thinking of ordering one. Well, since I hadn't come up with her gift for this year yet, I decided to call and order her another small tree. She received it today and was pleasantly surprised by her gift which should - hopefully - last through the holidays.
Today I went to the mall at lunch and had a 25% off coupon for Macy's. My mom mentioned last week how she lost one of her old leather gloves, so I purchased a nice new pair for her. I got them at a deal for only $38, fully lined and all.
Then I stopped at Victoria's Secret and got my niece a gift set with yoga pants and a tank top for $49. I think she'll love it but if she doesn't, she can return it for something she'll enjoy more.
Just chatted with my Mom and she recommends cash for my Sister and Dad. My Dad fell recently and broke his eyeglasses so he could use some cash towards a new pair and my Sister is disabled and can always use some extra money. I'd rather send her a present and I asked if she needs anything but she said "no".
That only leaves my hubby and maybe a token of appreciation for my employee at work. The hubby's Christmas money will come out of my paycheck on 12/15, so I'm not worried about that yet and I'm sure I can find something perfect for my employee at the right price.
So far, so good with staying on track with my holiday spending. Now, let's hope this girl's weekend in Vegas goes just as well!
Monday, December 5, 2011
Here's my Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies :)
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a keyboard for my hubby. He recently decided that he wants to learn to play the piano. We went to Costco for ham and ended up leaving with a keyboard for about $100. I asked if he wanted it to be a gift from Santa, but he declined. He decided he wanted to use his "fun money" over the next 3 weeks to pay for it. I'm proud of him! In the past, he wouldn't give a second thought to where the money came from and now he has it all thought out.
2. Today I am thankful for friends. Although I don't have a ton of them, the handful of people that I would truly call "my friends" bring me such happiness.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was decorated our Christmas tree! I just love doing that each year. After we bought our tree, we made a quick stop for a peppermint hot-cocoa (a necessity for me when decorating the tree) and home we went for hours of Christmas music and tree decorating... what fun!
4. I will consider this week a success if I stay on target with my budget for Vegas. Because I splurge so infrequently, sometimes things get a little out of control when I do. I'm hoping I keep a level head and do other fun stuff with my girlfriend, other than blow all the money we bring with us. Vegas is a blast for sight seeing and people watching - two of my favorite free things to do!
5. My favorite Christmas gift as a child was my dollhouse. I had hours of fun decorating and rearranging the items in the house.
Hope you all have a wonderful week!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Coming up next weekend, I have my first girls weekend away planned! I'm super excited :) I'm meeting up with an old friend in Vegas for her birthday weekend. I'm a bit nervous about that. I have set aside some fun money to bring with me. This is her first time, so I'm hoping we'll do lots of walking around, taking in the sites and less sitting in front of the machines. My true goal at the end of the weekend will be to make it home with some money. I know it sounds silly, but even if I come home with $1 in my pocket, I'll be happy. I just don't want to blow it all. One thing I've begun to appreciate over the past few months of debt repayment is the value of money. If I have even $1 left over, I plan on putting it towards paying down our credit cards. Here's hoping it's a lot more than that though!
With my check today I also made a good sized payment to our credit card. I sent in $1,000. I'm excited to think of the new statement coming out and seeing some of the numbers drop! Happy Hump Day!
Monday, November 28, 2011
Wow, it's been a long time since I've sat down and done a Weekly Money Check-Up. I've forgotten how much I enjoy taking a moment to reflect on the week that went by. I'm happy to say, here is My Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on groceries. I tend to overbuy and overcook when it comes to the holidays. Even though it's just the hubby and me, I cook as though we have an army coming over. It works out great though for leftovers!
2. Today I am thankful for hope. Thinking of this upcoming year is very exciting to me. I'm thankful for the possibilities that may arise, the new experiences we will have and how great it's going to feel once we're out of debt.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was painted my nails. I know I've mentioned this before as my free treat that I give myself. It's true. Since I don't do it all the time, when I actually take the time to sit down and give myself a manicure and pedicure, it feels wonderful. Plus, since I already have all the supplies, it's free!
4. I will consider this week a success if I set my Christmas budget for family and actually stick to it. I have an amount I plan to use for gifts for family back home and I don't want to go over that amount. No, I'm NOT GOING TO GO OVER THAT AMOUNT!
5. My favorite Christmas song/album is Mele Kalikimaka (The Hawaiian Christmas Song). It makes me smile :)
Have a great week!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Here's where things were as of July 28, 2011:
Original Debt $60,555.72
Debt on 7/28/11 $50,355.00
Credit Card Debt
CC #1 : $15,217.69
CC#2 : $16,913.81
CC#3 : $0 (Paid In Full!)
Here's the update, as to where our debt is today:
Credit Card Debt
CC #1 - $0 (Paid in full on 11/15/11)
CC #2 - $13,885.25
CC #3 - $2,905.30 (0% balance transfer card I opened a few months ago)
For a total of $33,920.64
That means since July 28th, we've paid off $16,434.36 in debt. Not bad progress. Not bad at all! The next one that will go down is CC#2. The plan is to have that one paid off in March 2012. Unless, or course, if we win the lottery before then :)
Monday, November 14, 2011
Tomorrow is my payday. Well, tonight at midnight actually. And like a teenager waiting in line at midnight to see the next movie in the Twilight series, I'm thinking of staying up late so I can make our FINAL PAYMENT to CC #1 as soon as the money hits our account! I can't believe this day is finally here. The final payment will be in the amount of $1483.46. It almost seems surreal. It feels as though we've been working towards this day for so long.
We were able to pay this one off sooner than we originally anticipated. We were targeting having this one paid in January 2012. I'm pleased to say that we beat that estimate by a few months! I'm looking forward to sharing our new debt repayment schedule soon.
Although this is exciting news, we still aren't out of the woods yet. I plan to update our debt status this week so you can see where we're at. There's been a good amount of progress made since that last update in July. I'm excited to share our new numbers.
Have a great day!
Monday, November 7, 2011
Hi there! Long time, no blogging. Here is a post that I wrote up in September to celebrate my one year blogger-versary! Life has been crazy-busy and I haven't had a chance to get on here to share it. I had a few minutes of downtime today so I wanted to get this posted so people know I'm still alive :) Thanks to folks for checking in on me. All is okay, just lots of changes that haven't allowed me to be online much at all. I'll provide more updates in the coming days.
It's my one year blogger-versary! I can't believe it's been a year. It seems like just yesterday I decided I was frustrated with the debt and it was time to do something about it. I was tired of falling deeper and deeper into the hole we created and I wanted to stop the cycle and get out.
I have been working hard on my debt repayment - for a solid year now. Sure, there were some ups and downs. We have made some progress, but not as much as we could have if we were super diligent. This year hasn't been easy. We cut back, moved, downsized and resisted temptation a lot more than we ever have in the past.
Change isn't easy but it is worth it! I know for certain that I wouldn't have made as much progress as I have, if it weren't for my blogging buddies. When I felt down, you were there to pick me up. You've offered support, cheers, guidance and recommendations. I tried to absorb it all and learn from it.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your support! Here's to the next year together.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on more clothes for my hubby's new job. We wanted to make sure he has enough dress pants and shirts to last him a full week. We're kind of bad when it comes to doing laundry, so we bought him some extra just in case we fall behind.
2. Today I am thankful for consistent paychecks. Wow, both my hubby and I starting jobs with new companies this past week threw our normal paycheck schedule out the window! He'll now be paid a week behind, instead of current and I will now be paid current on the 15th and last day of the month. It will take some getting used to but it should all work out okay. Initially we were told that our first check wouldn't be until the end of September and I started to get nervous because we don't have a lot to fall back on and disappointed because I had such hopes of paying things off sooner than first planned. Today I found out all is well and I'll receive a normal check on the 15th.... phew!
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was rented free movies from Blockbuster. Over at Together We Save, she often gives out codes for free movies. You should check it out!
4. I will consider this week a success if I get caught up at work! Since the last few weeks have been so crazy busy, I've let some filing fall to the side. Now is a good time to catch up on all that and put it behind me.
5. I am willing to splurge on experiences. I am a big believer of having fun and making memories. I'm willing to splurge to make an experience memorable.
Tomorrow is my blogger-versary! It's hard to believe that it's been one full year since I started Head Over Heels in Debt. I'm so grateful for those who have joined in on this journey with me. I truly appreciate your comments and support.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Needless to say this bump up will help us meet our financial goals quicker than planned. I still need to find some time to rework the budget and maybe even consider joining their 401K. This new company actually has a match! As Suzie Orman always says, you should contribute at least up to the match. Who am I to turn away free money?
So, things are looking up in our neck of the woods. Sorry I haven't been posting much or commenting on other blogs. It's been crazy busy, to say the least. Hopefully things will calm down over the next week or so and I can get back to my routine.
Here's hoping you all have a wonderful long, relaxing weekend. I know I will :)
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on some new work pants for the hubby. They were a little more expensive than we hoped for, but they are good quality and should last a while.
2. Today I am thankful for my job! I'll post more on why tomorrow :)
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was found out that my husband got the job he applied for! I was so thrilled for him. I believe the new job will be great for him.
4. I will consider this week a success if I fight off this migraine that keeps trying to surface. My world has been a bit nuts and the stress is showing itself in the form of big pimples and my face and a pounding headache. Aghhhh, calgone take me away!
5. The thing I will miss most when summer is over is the long, sunny days. I love the sunshine and enjoy that is lasts so long in the summer. I get a little sad as winter rolls in and the days get shorter.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Here's hoping I can make it through today without wanting to do this to anyone! It's been a long week on my end and next week is certainly going to be even longer. There's lots going on in my work world which is making things a little crazy but hopefully by this time next week, I'll be past most of it and able to relax a bit, thinking of the upcoming long weekend that will be ahead of me.
Hope you all have a nice weekend, stay on budget and safe from hurricane Irene!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Yippeeee :) Sweet goodness! I am so happy for him. Since we've moved to California, he's had difficulty a) getting full time hours, b) getting a job with benefits and c) getting a fair wage. Finally, he's been offered a position at a company that offers all of these wonderful things!
He will have to start as a temp employee through an agency initially but then he can convert onto the company payroll and after an initial probationary period, he'll be able to enjoy the full benefits package. Including tuition reimbursement!
I'm a huge fan of tuition reimbursement. If a company is offering to send me to school, for free, then I'm in! I got my Master's degree this way and highly recommend that anyone take advantage of it when offered. My husband has his Associates degree and I'm hoping he'll use their tuition reimbursement to go back to school and finish off his Bachelor's. It'll only continue to help him in his career.
As I mentioned before, change is in the air for us. This is the first part and I should be able to update you more on the second sometime next week. Enjoy the rest of the week!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The hubby and I are very hopeful that the new job is going to pan out (we should find out today!) so we thought we should check out some new clothes for him. At his current job, he gets away with wearing jeans or cargo shorts and a polo shirt. His new position will require him to dress up a bit more.
Macy's was having a "One Day" sale on Saturday, so we decided to check it out. We saw commercials for it, showing that dress shirts were going to be on sale for $9.99. Marked down from $50ish - that's a really good deal. We went and picked up 5 shirts. Not bad! (If he doesn't get the job, we can return the shirts.)
The more I thought about it, I realized how easy guys have it when it comes to buying clothes for work. Most guys I see in the workplace get away with rotating the same 5-7 button down shirts with a pair of khaki pants. For all I know, it's the same one pair of khaki pants. Lucky guys!
The women on the other hand, aren't so lucky. With pants, skirts, dresses, shirts, sweaters, etc. it's no wonder it adds up much faster for us!
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
1) Flowers - I'm not picky about the kind either. I just love flowers! I'm blessed to live in a place where flowers bloom year round and I truly enjoy it and appreciate seeing them around. They just put a smile on my face.
2) Drive In Movies - First off, I love movies. But, I friggin LOVE going to the drive in! The idea of watching a movie... OUTSIDE, is just wonderful. I set up our car with blankets and pillows, like we are in the comfort of our own home, but we get to watch the movie on the big screen, enjoying the fresh air. It's great!
3) Sleeping Late - I'm so not a morning person. I try to put on a happy face and make the most of having to get up early but man on man, do I love sleeping in late. It makes me feel like I'm on vacation.
4) Putting my feet in the sand - I love the feel of sand on my feet. Especially warm, soft, white beach sand. Ahhhhhhh.
5) Arcades - I love games. I guess I'm just a kid at heart but I love going to the arcade and playing games. It's a fun way to pass the time and I enjoy winning silly tickets that I later cash in for way overpriced trinkets. I love the lights, the sounds and the energy.
6) Goosebumps - I know it may sound strange but I like getting goosebumps. Not when I'm cold, that just plain sucks, but when I'm watching a movie and the scene is just so intense that my body reacts with goosebumps. That's pretty cool. It sometimes happens when I'm reading a good book too. It just makes me feel so alive that my body actually reacted like that to the emotion I was feeling in the moment.
7) Beach Fires - There's something I love about sitting next to a fire on the beach. Not sure if it's worlds colliding or something but ocean and fire together amaze me.
8) Fireworks - I take such pleasure in watching a firework display. I remember one time, a while back, I went to watch fireworks on the 4th of July and we were so close that ash actually blew on us. It was kind of scary but so intense to be that close to such an amazing display.
9) A New Box of Chocolates - How great does it feel to open a new box of chocolates? When they all look so fresh and delicious and they haven't been picked over yet. Yummmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about them.
10) Jumping Waves - This brings back great memories. Fun summers at the beach as a child, jumping waves with my family. It makes me feel like a kid again. It's exhilarating to watch as the wave approaches and then psych myself up for it to hit and jumping right at the exact moment so it doesn't take me down with it. Oh, such fun!
What brings you joy?
Monday, August 22, 2011
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on our debt repayment. We sent a big payment into our credit card ($1829.65 - every penny counts).
2. Today I am thankful for new possibilities. A few have presented themselves in the past week or so and I'm excited to see where they take us.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was went for another moonlit walk with the hubby along the beach. Ahhh, this may be habit forming!
4. I will consider this week a success if I get the news that my hubby got the job he interviewed for! That would truly make this week a success for us.
5. The best prank ever pulled on me was when some co-workers decorated my cubicle with funny pictures. I didn't noticed at first because they actually took the time to cut out heads of celebrities to put on top of people I knew in my personal picture frames. It was intricate work that took a while for them to accomplish. I laughed so hard when I finally noticed. It was a good prank! I miss those old co-workers/friends, but I have some good memories from the times we shared together.
Enjoy the week everyone!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I wrote previously about how my husband was interviewing for a new job. It seemed like it was a great fit for him. It was about 4 miles from our house, paid more, actually offered things like vacation, sick time and company benefits and he interviewed well.
Unfortunately he didn't get the job. We took the high road and wrote a nice letter to the person who interviewed him thanking her for the opportunity and asking her to keep him in mind in the event that something opened up down the road.
Well... just about two months to the day, he got a call from the staffing agency who coordinated the interview saying that the company called and mentioned they had another opening and asked specifically if he is available!
YES! He had a phone screen last night, which went well and he's going in today to meet with the team again. I can't imagine he won't get the job. He's actually over qualified, has a great personality, is hard working and would make an awesome addition to any team.
Here's hoping he gets it!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I wrote previously about how I was loving Swagbucks, but I wanted to share with you again how great it is. It's so easy to use. You just search on Swagbucks, like you would Yahoo!, or Google and you get points randomly for your searches. You can also get points for polls, games and surveys. Once you've earned enough points, you cash them in for items you want or you can enter into sweepstakes. It's a pretty great idea!
I have been redeeming mine for Amazon gift cards. I just cashed some of those gift cards in this week for a few items I needed. In the past, I've used the gift cards towards gifts for family and friends. It's really a "no strings attached" way to get some free stuff.
If you haven't checked it out, I really would recommend it :)
Happy Hump Day!
Monday, August 15, 2011
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on our groceries. I stayed within budget and spent around $90 this week.
2. Today I am thankful for my life! Honestly, it's not spectacular or extravagant but it's mine and I love it. I have good health, a great partner, a job, a working car, a roof over my head, food in my fridge and overall, I'm thankful for all of it.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was went with the hubby to the beach for a late night stroll on Saturday. It was fun to walk the boardwalk and look into all the beautiful ocean front homes that were lit up and some were wide open. I live in a beautiful place and need to make sure we take the time to see it and appreciate it more often!
4. I will consider this week a success if I make it through to Friday in good spirits. This week is going to be brutal at work, saying there is "a lot" going on is an understatement. I need to stay positive and focused and hopefully Friday will be here before I know it. (Be forewarned, I may not post as often this week because of it.)
5. If I had today off I would have slept in a bit and then cleaned our house and finished laundry. Once that was done, I probably would lay out by the pool for a bit to enjoy some of this summer sunshine.
Have a great week everyone!
Friday, August 12, 2011
Right now, interest is the penalty I have to pay for the silly things I borrowed money for.
But I know down the road, once I've gotten the debt paid off, I'm going to feel such passionate love for interest. It's going to be the exact opposite of what it is right now. I'm going to welcome it and crave seeing it. I'm going to long for it and hope the amount is higher. It will become my lifeline, my addiction, my hope. One day interest may enable me to live the life I want to.
Interest will become the reward I'll receive for saving my money.
It's rare in life that we have such a love/hate relationship with anything and this is one that can help set us free or lock us under it's spell for life. Interest is powerful. I'm looking forward to the day when I recognize it's power as good instead of evil.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
It's that time of year again! Time to get your free credit report online. If you recall, I started doing this back in April and I planned to check it every 4 months at the free website:
Last time I checked our reports with Experian and this time I plan to go with Equifax. You could also use TransUnion. Here's hoping all looks good! I'll keep you posted if I discover anything out of the ordinary.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Something told me that I should do a check up as to where I am with my tax withholdings at this point. I decided to look at the total taxes withheld on my W-2 from 2010, compared to where I would be if I continued to withhold what I currently am, through the end of 2011. Oh oh, I smell trouble! From the looks of it, I would be very close to what I withheld last year. We all know where that got me (read here if you don't)... owing $7K+ in taxes.
I know how it happened. In an effort to get the taxes paid off quickly this year, I had basically nothing taken out for 5 paychecks. I thought claiming Married, Zero for the remainder of this year may balance things out but from the looks of it, it won't. Unfortunately we don't have much for deductions really since we don't own a house or have children we can claim.
I refuse to be stuck in the same situation I was last year, where I had to scramble to get the money to pay the tax man. I don't want to do that again. I won't do that again.
This leaves me with no choice but to adjust my withholdings now. I'm going to have an additional $360 withheld each pay period. There are 10 more paychecks left this year, so that will be an additional $3600 going towards taxes. I'm not even sure that this will be enough but it's all I'm willing to do right now. Anything more will impact our debt repayment schedule more than I'm willing to do.
Hopefully this will be a wash, but if not, at least I'll owe less. Just when you thought it was safe to let your guard down. Better I discover it now than when it's too late to remedy.
Monday, August 8, 2011
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a payment to our credit card. I'm loving seeing the balance go down! I can't wait to get the official statement later this week.
2. Today I am thankful for distance. There's been a lot of stuff going on back home with my family and right now I'm glad to live so far away. Distance is helping me cope right now.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was finished reading another book from the library. Yayyyy for free library books :)
4. I will consider this week a success if I don't need to put gas in the car. If we don't travel much, we can get by with only one tank of gas for the work week. We started with a full tank this morning, so I'm hoping it will last until payday on Friday. Fingers crossed!
5. This time last year was right before I got engaged, got a new car, got serious about my finances and started this blog. A lot has changed in the last year!
Friday, August 5, 2011
Hope you all have a good weekend :) Take a moment to stop and smell the roses.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
So, last week I received the offer from Discover to take out a personal loan. After applying and getting approved, I decided the high interest rate wasn't worth it. Well, now they've followed up with a new offer...
If I charge only $3K per month for August through December, they'll give me a $500 cash back bonus!
Oh boy. NO THANKS! Seriously? Put $15K on my card so I can get $500? That's almost equal to 2 months of what you've been charging me in interest. How about you look back over my statements and see that I've already put $15K on your damn card and give me the "bonus" anyway?
I'm taking a little bit of pride in thinking they are starting to see me paying down my balance so they're trying to do anything they can to get me to charge stuff so they can earn more interest. Well, it ain't gonna happen. So take that Discover!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
October will mark our one year wedding anniversary for the hubby and I. We have been on the fence for several months as to whether or not we should take a vacation when we are in debt. We posed the question to the readers previously and got mixed reviews. After a long walk on the beach on Sunday, we made our decision.
We will not be going on vacation this year.
We jointly agreed that being out of debt as fast as we can is more important to us, than taking an anniversary trip this year. So, the $2K we planned on putting towards our vacation will now be going right towards our debt! This should allow us to have our CC#1 paid off at the beginning of December, instead of the end. Then we can start throwing every last penny at CC#2.
As much as I'd absolutely love a week away at an all-inclusive resort on the beach, it's just not the right time for it. We'll be able to celebrate our anniversary and being out of debt, next year!
There's a saying when you are trying to lose weight...
"Thin feels better than that tastes"
Well, I think we should have one for people trying to get out of debt...
"Debt free feels better than having or doing that feels"
I'm brainstorming here, I'm open to suggestions :)
So, instead, we'll plan a special day close to home for the two of us and look at some of our honeymoon photos (that's one above), recalling how much fun we had and daydream some more until we can actually plan another trip in the future. It won't be that long!
Monday, August 1, 2011
Here's My Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on groceries (and that wasn't even too bad! We came in $20 under budget so we used it on an oil change.)
2. Today I am thankful for a new month beginning (just means we're that much closer to being debt-free!) and not having to contribute to my niece's college tuition - this is helping us throw a bunch more at our debt.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was cut my nails! I know it sounds weird, but spending a few moments on grooming myself makes me happy. Many times I put it off but when I finally get to do it, it makes me happy.
4. I will consider this week a success if I do as well at sticking to the budget during the week as we did this weekend. We stayed on target and did great. I'm hoping we can have a bunch of "no-spend" days this week to keep the success going!
5. I dream about... Since this could be taken two different ways, I decided to answer both ways: At night, strange, wild adventures that rarely reflect common everyday events in my life. During the day I dream about being debt free and living a more carefree life and somehow figuring out how to spend more lazy days on the beach with my hubby! Ahhhh, that's the real dream for me.
Have a good week everyone :)
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Well, ta-daaaa! We have paid off $10K of our debt since we started this journey! Actually, most of it probably happened in the last 2-3 months. Before then we were focused on our wedding/ honeymoon/ paying the IRS, etc.
Now that we have all that behind us and we've made a pretty big dent, it's full steam ahead!
Also, thanks to the suggestion from Erika at Newlyweds on a Budget, I applied for a Citicard to see if I could somehow get a zero interest balance transfer for part of our debt. (I had already called my cards but they refused to lower their rates.) I found out today that we were approved! It's only for a small portion, but it will save us almost $400 in interest over the next year or so. That's not bad! Not bad at all.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
It was a bit eye-opening to see how little we'd actually need to get by. Which tells me we've been over spending for wayyyyyyy too long! It's good that we are on track now. Anyway, here is the breakdown:
Together we'd take home $3000/Month (based on 4 pay periods)
-$125 Cell Phones
-$365 Car Payment
-$83 Car Insurance
-$200 Food ($50/week)
-$240 Gas ($60/week)
-$400 CC #1
-$400 CC #2
For a remaining balance of $357 per month. That would have to be for savings and misc. items that we haven't really accounted for, such as our annual car registration, oil changes, etc. Unfortunately I don't have health insurance figured in here. I believe Cobra would cost about $1K per month for both medical ($890) and dental ($100). Ouch! Luckily we are both in good health for the most part, so we could take a chance for a little while until I found a new job with benefits.
Hopefully this won't happen, but I can breathe a little sigh of relief knowing that in the worst case scenario, we'd be okay to get by for a little bit. Not to mention any income that I'd be able to generate from being at home working on crafts or something. In addition, with each pay period that goes by where we are both still employed, we're able to send hefty sized payments in to the credit cards. This is helping to lower the minimum payments due, so we may even have a little more extra wiggle room if/when that time comes.
Question: Have you taken a hard look at your bills and what your backup plan will be if the unfortunate happens and you or your partner are laid off?
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The offer was to borrow from $5K-$25K as a personal loan for debt consolidation (or whatever other reason you need it). The interest rate was going to vary based on your credit rating and the repayment terms started at 36 months and went up from there. They stated that there was no prepayment penalty.
Our current plan is to pay off one credit card by the end of this year and the other around May 2012 (HOPEFULLY!). I thought that this loan may be a good way to get the interest rate down on the 2nd card. We currently have about a $17K balance on that card. About $2K is at 19.24% and $15K at 15.24%.
I went through the application process and was approved for the $17K loan. Unfortunately the interest rate they offered was 16.99%. The person on the phone tried to explain that even though this rate is slightly higher than the rate on the majority of my balance, it would probably be less that I'd pay because the credit cards compound interest daily, versus the loan company which will just add the interest monthly.
I wasn't able to find a comparison calculator online to do the math out but it just doesn't feel right. If they came back with a lower interest rate that would have been different, but it just didn't work out that way. That's okay. I'll stick to our original plan and stay focused on getting there.
Question: Has anyone else looked into consolidation loans? Did it work for you? Would you recommend it?
Monday, July 25, 2011
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a payment to our credit card... $1431.30. Yeah, I know it's kind of an odd amount, but it was everything, but one penny, that we had left in our checking account after payday, so I sent it all in. (I'm a little weird and feel safe leaving at least a penny in the account, for fear that something bad will happen if I get it all the way down to zero. I know, strange!)
2. Today I am thankful that my Dad finally found a job after being unemployed for over a year! Yippee :) This will certainly make things a little easier for my parents. It's sad to see them struggle to get by in their older age. If I was in a different financial situation, I would've been able to help them out more.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was organized my office at work. It was starting to get a bit messy so I spent one afternoon going through things and hanging some old calendar pictures. It looks and feels much better now.
4. I will consider this week a success if I don't spend another penny on anything! Hubby and I went a little off budget this weekend and found ourselves with only $30 left for groceries. We'll be combining what's left in the cabinets with the small amount of fresh items we bought this week.
5. A good friend is someone who is there for you when you need them. It's not often that I ask for help and when I do, I really need it. A good friend is one that has your back and is there if you fall.
Friday, July 22, 2011
I thought about how I would receive 4 paychecks between now and September 6th. I calculated this to be about $6K more that we would pay towards our debt before I see those little munchkins again. Wow, by then our debt will be a good amount lower! I can't wait!
This was a happy thought to start my Friday off. I hope you all have a good weekend!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Dear Bank of America,
Thanks for not taking my money! Literally. I tried to deposit a hundred dollar bill in your new fancy ATM's where although it's convenient that you don't have to use an envelope (great idea!), you tend to spit cash deposits back out to people. Of course your lobby was already closed and unfortunately I work during your "normal banking hours" so I'm stuck using your ATM after hours.
Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but you offer no alternative way to deposit the cash (which having worked at a bank for several years, I'm quite certain is a valid, non-counterfeit bill). I'm left having to go to a store to exchange the bill into something that is considered more ATM friendly. That's assuming the store will just exchange the cash for me and not make me buy something that I don't need first.
I was trying to make this deposit on Tuesday. It's now Thursday and I won't likely get to a store to exchange the bill and make it back to the fancy ATM until Friday. I've now gained three more days of interest on the credit card that I wanted to apply the $100 payment to. You've also lost 3 days of interest that you could have gained by accepting my money.
In conclusion, while I appreciate the advances in technology and how we can now just put our bills directly into the ATM, I think it's also beneficial to offer the envelopes to customers who have their money spit back out to them, so they are not inconvenienced to have to exchange the bill elsewhere and return back to the ATM.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I decided that I didn't want to pay that much. I considered downgrading to the streaming with 1 DVD, but then figured it's just as easy to stop at RedBox on the way home and get a movie for $1. The streaming alone through Netflix is just $7.99. Although there is not a ton of options on there yet, there's usually something I can find to watch.
I know it's not a big savings each month, but that's about $8 more I can put towards our credit card payment! Every snowflake helps :)
Question: Do you use NetFlix? Did you change your plan or are you going to just accept the increase and maintain your current plan?
Monday, July 18, 2011
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on groceries.
2. Today I am thankful for my employment. I know I may have mentioned this before, but I'm truly grateful. My Dad has been unemployed for over a year and I know there are many others in similar situations. I'm so thankful to have my job and I just hope it sticks around long enough to get ourselves out of debt!
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was sat with my hubby on the beach for a while. We went whale watching (which unfortunately didn't turn out as great as I'd hoped for) and we ended up spending a little time sitting on the beach relaxing together after lunch. It was only for a few moments but I enjoyed it and it made me smile :o)
4. I will consider this week a success if I blog each day! I haven't been as faithful with my blogging as I'd like to be since the summer started. I hope this week slows down a bit and allows me some more free time to post.
5. My favorite cuisine to prepare is probably Italian. I love to eat it and I love to prepare it. I always pictured myself growing into an old Italian woman making homemade sauce in the kitchen. I'm about as far as you can get from Italian, but I still enjoy making it every once in a while and I love eatting it!
Enjoy the week and stay focused!
Friday, July 15, 2011
There's not a lot going on in my world today but I'm happy to be alive and I'm thinking positive about the future.
Today was another day of me walking to work instead of getting another car.
Today was another day of me making breakfast, lunch and dinner instead of going out.
Today will be another night of watching a movie on Netflix instead of catching the latest release in the theater.
Today will be another night of having a glass of chardonnay from that bottle I bought at Fresh & Easy for $1.99, instead of going to a bar and paying 3 or 4 times as much!
Today I'm one day closer to being debt free!
Stay positive friends and have a wonderful weekend. The weather in San Diego should be great.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Today on my walk in to work this morning, my legs were a little tired. As I passed two other apartment complexes we looked into previously, I longingly thought how much closer they are to my work and what a short walk I'd have. It takes me about 50 minutes now. One complex would take about 25 minutes and one would take 10.
Then I recalled how much more the rent was at these places. One was $400 more per month and the other was almost $700 more! Although these places are nice and my walk would be shorter (read: I could sleep in at least 30 minutes longer!), the extra price isn't worth it to me.
I've chosen to put that extra money towards debt each month, instead of making my life a little easier. That's another reason we don't have a second vehicle. That would be extra money each month on a car payment and insurance. It's not worth it to me. Later down the road, it may be, but right now it's not.
Question : What have you given up that could make your life much easier, in your quest to be debt free?
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I'm finding myself in the same boat again! I purchased vouchers from Travelzoo (a great website by the way!) a few months back for whale watching. My hubby has never been and I thought it would be a fun activity for us. The trip I booked is a day long event that also brings you over to Catalina Island for lunch and strolling around. The trip usually goes for $69 per person and I got a deal at $29 each! That's only $58 total.
We've also never been to Catalina and I figured this would be an inexpensive way for us to check it out and maybe plan a longer trip there in the future when we are out of debt. Old habits die hard though. As I finished booking the whale watching trip for this weekend, in honor of our 5 years of being together, I started thinking about how nice it would be to make a weekend away of the trip. That's where the fantasy started...
First off, we'd head up to Disneyland right after work on Friday. They are having a special on 3 day tickets for a discounted price, so I'd be sure to get those! We'd check into one of our favorite hotels, within walking distance of the park. We'd quickly head over to the park so we can have a bite to eat for dinner before hitting some rides. Historically this has been the best time for us to be at the park. All the little ones are tuckered out and the lines for the rides are short!
We'd spend the next few hours riding until our hearts content. At the end of the night, we'd watch the fireworks show and head back to the hotel. Saturday would be a leisurely day at the hotel pool with some more fun at Disney mixed in.
Sunday morning we'd wake up, enjoy the continental breakfast then head over to the coast for our whale watching departure. We'd have a delicious lunch on the water and shop til we had to get back on the boat. We'd head back to our hotel and enjoy a few more hours at Disney before having to drive home. All in all, this dream weekend would run us about $1,000!
Instead, reality hits and we won't be going to Disney or staying at the hotel we love. Nope, we'll be waking up at the crack of dawn, to make the almost 2 hour drive North so we can be on the boat by 7:30. We'll be lucky if we get a bite in before we hit the road since there will be no time to stop on the way!
Old habits die hard, but they do die. I didn't book all the things above, as I once would have. Instead, I've been online researching inexpensive restaurants on Catalina, so we can grab lunch but still stay within our $40 date budget. This little fantasy will go on my list of fun things we may do later down the road when we are debt free!
Monday, July 11, 2011
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on our credit card payment.
2. Today I am thankful for cable antennas that work! Our antenna works (for the most part) pretty good. This allows us to save money each month by not having cable. I'm thankful for that.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was watched Big Brother! This show is my guilty pleasure in the summer. I look forward to the show each year. I know it's a silly reality show, but I just enjoy watching it so much!
4. I will consider this week a success if I end the week with a little cash in my pocket. I have a $20 bill right now and other than a possible lunch with a co-worker, I don't have anything I really need. I'll be happy if I make it til Friday with something left over :)
5. The strangest thing I have ever eaten is kidneys or venison. As a kid, my Dad would make kidneys on rare occasions and he tried to get me to try it once. His motto was "try everything once, if you don't like it, you don't have to have it again." So, I tried it and didn't like it. On a couple of trips, one to West Virginia and one to New Zealand, I tried venison. It wasn't bad, I just didn't love it.
I hope you all have a good week and make progress on your debt repayment!
Friday, July 8, 2011
I know she doesn't have anyone else in her life besides me, her husband and her therapist. Because of this, I feel kinda obligated to say "yes." However, there are a handful of reasons why I want to say "no."
-I only get a certain amount each week for my "Mad Money" and I don't necessarily want to spend it going out with her.
-I am trying really hard to not drink/eat the wrong things. I'm on Atkins and extra carbs don't really fit the lifestyle.
-I have gotten too close to her for my own good, mainly because I felt bad for the situation she's in. My position at work doesn't really allow me to be close friends with employees. It's expected that I'll keep that them at a distance.
-Last, but not least, I don't like to be locked into frequent events. In my previous life (when I was married before and lived on the East Coast), I found that I over-committed myself and was stressed with promising so much to so many people. Since moving to CA, it's just been my hubby and I. We both really like it that way. We just kinda keep to ourselves and do our own thing. The idea of having a weekly commitment is stressing me out.
As I re-read this, I know I should just tell her "no" but I just told her "yes." This is one area I need to grow in. However, it's so hard for me because I know she doesn't have anyone else to turn to. I just can't be "her person." Do you know what I mean? I have a person. I can't commit myself to making her happy.
I'll go tonight because I said I would, but somehow I need to get the point across that I'm up for an occasional night out but it can't be a planned weekly event. Any advice is welcomed :)
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Honestly, think about it... just when you are doing great and get to climb a ladder (make a good size debt payment), a few steps later you find yourself going down a slide (Murphy strikes). I'm sure we've all been there in our debt repayment journeys.
MPP had a positive way of looking at things that I wanted to share: "Life is just unfair sometimes, just like the game of Chutes and Ladders, where the steps are chosen by a dice. Cars break down when you need them. People who do less work seem to get the promotions. Emergencies happen. But the best thing to do in these situations is acknowledge that it sucks, see how far you’ve come since you started the game, and quickly move on. Because after you slide down a chute, there’s usually a ladder coming up. And the only way to win the game is to keep playing."
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on groceries. Sometimes we come in under budget, but this week we went a little overboard buying yummy stuff for the long holiday weekend.
2. Today I am thankful for fresh starts. I love changing the calendar and feeling as though it's a new month and time for a fresh start.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was read another book! We spent all day outside on Monday and I got to relax and finish a whole book. It was a good day!
4. I will consider this week a success if I get some backlogged stuff done at work. I've accumulated a small pile here that I'll be happy about if I can make it disappear this week.
5. My favorite 4th of July tradition is watching the fireworks! Hands down, I love fireworks and really look forward to being able to watch them on the 4th.
I hope everyone is enjoying this week - it's already half over!
Friday, July 1, 2011
Gosh, I've been working at this for so many months now, you'd think I'd be smarter and make the best decisions for our current situation, but for whatever stupid reason I don't. It really gets me down.
I don't have any real excuses and I know I'm smarter than my behavior would let on. I guess it's a journey and it's just going to take time.
When I take a moment to step back and think of the big picture, I know that I am improving. It's just not as fast as I'd hope it would be. Who knew that the road would be so bumpy and it would be so hard to hang on to the damn wagon? Oh well.
Have a great weekend all and Happy 4th of July!
PS - As an update, the hubby didn't get that job from last week. We'll keep searching though! Thanks for all the well wishes.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Here's my late Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies :
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a credit card payment! I'll be so happy once those darn things are paid off.
2. Today I am thankful for automatic cars with cruise control. I know it sounds funny but I had a long ride to go to the conference and was able to use cruise control for most of it. My previous car was a standard and shifting was a pain in the butt. Now, with an automatic, I easily cruise for hours without the annoyance of having to shift along the way.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was starting to read a new book. I love getting into a new story. There's something exciting about cracking open a new book and seeing where the journey takes me.
4. I will consider this week a success if I follow our budget and menu over the long holiday weekend! Temptations, temptations, temptations!
5. For the 4th of July, I am hoping we have a cookout at the beach or bay and go see some fireworks. I absolutely love fireworks!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
So, now we're on the job hunt again. We found one last week and applied for it. He got a call back within minutes of applying from the agency that is handling the position.
I did a little more research and this job seems great. It's for a much larger company so there could be growth opportunities and the benefits are AMAZING! The best part is that it's just over 4 miles from our house! He won't even have to get on the highway (or "freeway" as they call it out here). I know it may sound crazy but I'm convinced that this "freeway" could be the death of us, so I try to limit the occasions we have to go on it. (People who know the San Diego highways that go as wide as 8 car widths at some points, know what I'm talking about!)
Anyway, the hubby went in for an interview yesterday! He thinks it went great. My fingers are crossed. We'll see what happens! I'm a big believer that it will work out the way that it's meant to. That still isn't gonna stop me from wishing real hard that it works out in our favor though :)
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
My co-worker then shared with me that she used to be a... wait for it - hairdresser! She offered to bring her scissors in to give me a "quick dry trim" - since that's all I was really looking for. As you'd imagine, the ends were getting a little frizzy after eight plus month with no trims.
She brought her scissors in today and during lunch she trimmed my hair. It was just what I needed! My hair looks way better now and the best part is that it didn't cost me anything! (In truth, I'll probably give her a little something on payday since I know money is tight for her too but it's definitely less than I would have spent at even Supercuts! Not to mention, I didn't even have to drive anywhere to get it done.) Today is a good day :)
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The thought put a smile on my face :)
It may sound like a small thing but I'm a very visual person and this will help motivate me to look at the bottle each day and remember that. There are many things that are going to happen before I get out of debt... the calendar will change several times over, the seasons will come and go, I'll celebrate another birthday, another anniversary, etc. One thing that won't happen though... I WILL NOT USE UP THAT BOTTLE OF PERFUME BEFORE I PAY OFF MY DEBT!
Good Idea : Find something that you can use as a visual reminder to help motivate you to stay on course.
Monday, June 20, 2011
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a fun weekend out. My hubby and I went out this weekend and got a little off budget :(
2. Today I am thankful for chiropractors! I had never been to one before and I had to go to one a couple of times over the past few days. They have gifted hands and seem to know just what to do to provide relief.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was go to Sea World! My husband won tickets on the radio (for the first time ever) to a party that the radio station was having THAT NIGHT. He won the very last pair that they were giving away, so that was kinda cool. It was a spontaneous, fun and free evening :) We enjoyed it!
4. I will consider this week a success if I can tweak our budget a bit to fix our night on the town.
5. My night-stand contains; on top - a lamp, a candle, my jewelry box, and my best wife trophy :), inside - a couple of magazines, chapstick, my ear plugs and eye patches.
I hope you all have a great week! It's the official start of Summer, it's bound to be good :)
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Account Name: Checking
Account Number: xxxxxx4502
Available Balance: $0.16
Current Balance: $0.16
I shouldn't have been too surprised since that's what I have written in my checkbook. But for some reason, my stomach dropped when I saw it and I got nervous! All of our bills are paid, we have plenty of food and my hubby gets paid in 2 days. Thankfully, we have our emergency fund if something major were to happen. I had to take a moment to tell myself "You're doing it right. This is what it SHOULD look like when you are doing zero-based budgeting." Someday I'll get used to it!