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Mo money more problems

April 13th, 2017 at 10:11 pm

Taxes are not fun, I found out I owe. I was not super happy.

We are switching accountants. I now owe money, have to figure out how to get a car in a few months.

Once the tax money is figured out I decided I am going to start saving for retirement.

I splurge on some shoes I am still stretching out and I feel like a dodo. No more spending like that. I thought it would be nice to have some date night shoes. I envisioned going to our anniversary dinner in a nice affordable dress and some really nice shoes.

I guess if I want to spend that kind of money again I am going to have to do the leg work but I won't be able to afford anything like that for a while. As it is I have to still pay on 2 of the 3. I felt like I deserved to get something nice for myself because I held off for so many years now I'm kicking myself.

Work has been so stressful and I still had that balance so I kept spending. For now I am going to focus on saving and setting some little part to spend on myself so I don't feel so deprived.

Good news I am closer and closer to paying off my lowest student loan.

Trying to be patient, quarterly tax paid

June 16th, 2016 at 03:55 pm

I'm happy that I sat down a few months ago and figured out how much I need to have to pay my first quarter taxes or else I'd be happy to have paid off the cc balance but crying about how to pay the IRS.

It's never good to owe money to them! Now that is sorted out I need to figure out what the rest of the year game plan is. It looks like I will be able to take a trip home to visit my family after all I just won't be able to afford a rental car.

That's fine with me I'll figure it out. The house is still eating up my money here and there. I just spent another $100 on some organizers and what not but it was totally worth it in a lot of ways because now I know where my shoes are and the dog toys are. And I can actually use my office, and I have a night stand.

It just stressed me out. To spend. I'm glad I didn't shred all my cards as some once-a-year expenses came up that I had forgotten to budget for came up so I was able to charge them and then figure it out from there.

Target was pushing out plastic storage containers at 30% off and they were selling their cheap shoe organizers and cubbyhole organizers on clearance. I was thinking about getting shoe organizers but I didn't want to pay full price for them so this totally worked out for me. I even got an extra discount on one because the box was broken and the bag holding the screws was missing a few.

I got an influx of money from the hubby for groceries so we are stocked there again now too finally. I found all my coffee making stuff so no more coffee out but my pitcher has a slow leak so this weekend I will have to try to find one. I'm hoping I can get a cheap one at the dollar store or Wal-Mart.

My lowest student loan is below $1000. If I didn't have the $1500 sitting on that cc I would totally find a way to pay that off.

I am very slowly putting money in the emergency fund but it makes me feels better just putting something in there.

I really need to be kinder to myself. I am doing the best I can.

I have also learned to make use of what other people would dispose of. A few weeks ago, they kept ordering bagels 3 days in a row. There were so many left over that I knew that they wouldn't get eaten. I took the bulk of them home and we ate bagel pizzas pretty much all week.

That was a great savings and helped the food from going bad too!

I hope I have better numbers to report when I check in again but at least I'm not feeling so down in the dumps even though I'm still anxious.

I think focusing on what I can control like reading all my books, cleaning the house, planning menus around what I have. Is helping a lot.

Trucking Along

May 20th, 2016 at 02:51 pm

Well I can't seem to get the debt off the card any faster but oh well I suppose that's life and what not.

The cash system is going okay. I have to be creative about what to eat but so far so good. I've been able to put a sliver of money away to my emergency fund but it's better than nothing.

I have been paying for everything all ancillary-weekly expense things in cash since paying off that last item on the card (it was for a appraisal and I wanted to have a secured method of payment for that.)

I have two more seasonal bills I have to pay off and after that it will be the normal stuff again.

I'm pretty much halfway to having enough for my quarterly tax payment so I shouldn't be late there!!

I have been giving my self a little reward each week to wean myself off that bad spending. (Last two weeks it was one trip to Starbucks for a coffee.) This week I couldn't afford that but I found an old loyalty card for coffee at Whole Foods, that one combined with my the one I had already had in my wallet meant I had a free coffee so I went ahead and cashed that in.

I am going to see about resurrecting the envelope system I had going when I was making more money and putting way more money away.

Now that my ankle is healed pretty much I should be able to take advantage of my gym membership again ($27 a month) which will help me chill out and hopefully get back in shape again.

I have also been reading a lot. It's cheap so why not. Lol.

Hope all is well guys!

Budgets and a look back

April 27th, 2016 at 01:03 pm

Thank you everyone for the kind words. I decided to go ahead and re-plug in numbers to my budget.

It is going to be tight for a bit but it looks like around the start of June the purse strings are going to be able to be loosened a bit so that I can maybe even knock out the last of that crappy revolving credit card debt. Or put more than a few bucks toward retirement.

We decided to tackle one bill early so I will have an extra 440 to throw at that balance between here and there if not more.

I'm just glad that I took the steps I did or I would be in a really not fun situation at the moment.

Aside from re-configuring the budget. I did a look back at last years situation to see how things have improved.

Issues I had 4/15 that I don't have 4/16
- I didn't have a job. I was temping for the company I now work full time for.

- I was iffy about my car even though it was paid off. I have since traded in that car for a lease on a new car which was so low I was able pay it off all at once and continue not having a monthly car payment.

- I was dreading a rent increase and trying to figure out how to save for a house. I have a house now. Smile

- I had an old medical bill in collections. I paid this off early this year.

- I knew I had to get my teeth fixed after years of neglect. I have since gone and taken care of all the issues. This work is also paid off.

- I had a part time job that stressed me out and kept increasing in hours. I was plotting how and when I could dump it. I have since quit. Life is easier now.

Of course I have new issues:

-I have to figure out what to do about the next car

-I have to see the dentist for routine keep-ups to keep my teeth in good shape

-The house still needs some work done which we need to budget for (less than 5K at this point)

-I need to rebuild my emergency fund after it funded so many emergencies.

-The house needs its own fund for routine maintenance things like: Eventual roof replacement, hardwood floor coating for the floor every 5 years, and a plumbing structure that will need to be replaced in 2 years or so.

-Kids will probably be coming into the picture in the next few years in a way truly negating any debt payoff progress.


Either way though, I'm hopeful. It seems things do get crazy but I have been handling them okay. Preparing for them as well as I can and trying to make whatever the best financial decision is that I can. Now I guess I just have to see about possibly increasing my income (without another part-time job) so I can knock out some debt and build up some wealth.

I'm not going to make it

April 25th, 2016 at 03:52 pm

Big Bummer. While I slashed by credit card balance by 80% I'm not going to be able to pay it off in full like I wanted with this upcoming paycheck. I have to put the check toward my quarterly tax bill instead.

I think it's going to be okay but I also think I might have to skip going home to visit my family this year and maybe even a trip I had planned to go to a cousin's wedding unless I get a good deal on the flight or get a raise or something.

It's a real bummer but the thing is unless something changes I know I can't afford it. I didn't think I'd get hit with all these house expenses right off the bat. And the dental work last year whipped out my savings that I'd had for potential house expenses.

It's just putting out fire after fire since about October of last year. I'm tired and I'm broke. So broke that for the first time in years I had to put charges on the credit card for monthly bills not knowing when I'll be able to pay them. Juggling juggling. I'm one disaster away from breaking my back.

I'm hoping that in the coming month having some structure again will really let me know what I'm working with here.

I couldn't get to the bank last week to get the few bucks I have left over for grocery spending money after taking out bills, taxes, gas money and some savings. I started using the grocery card for the 3% cash back and then found myself using it too much. I bought that kitchen stuff, some groceries, household items and charged an insurance bill but then I spent an extra $50 dollars on coffee and snacks.) So that's gone too before $50 turns into $500. I hid it in the house. Don't want to shred it though since I have no emergency fund right now and I'd need something in case of emergency type deal.

While I'm still putting chunks of money toward my cc bill, I am also putting a small amount of money toward my emergency fund each week and when things stabilize it'll go up. I'd like to ideally make it go up a few bucks every month but we'll see how much money I have left over.

Things are going to be tight for a while but at least my expenses are finally somewhat fixed.

I know what the bills are going to be each month and I know I won't have a rent increase now that we have a mortgage. I just need to not get discouraged.

I've been here before and made it, I'll make it by again. I've already started planning meals so we can control food costs and eat much healthier. And that at least is a start.



Getting closer to paying off card but feeling sort of overwhelmed

April 21st, 2016 at 03:22 pm

I am so happy to be closer to getting this credit card paid off but I am having a hard time with this whole money thing right now.

I had a few yearly expense things come up and it feels weird to be scrapping at the bottom of the barrel now that I had had savings for so long.

I shouldn't feel too bad I've done a lot of things right I'm just working with a less money than I used to back when I was paid well.

I just have to try and get some savings back that's all. And figure out where to cut things to get some retirement money put away.

I just try to do too much at one time I guess but I don't usually have the luxury of time.

Not having the part time job has been fantastic for my stress levels and that makes it worth it to me.

Pretty soon here I will start going to the gym again and that should make me feel a lot better as well. Might keep a tracker for weight on the sidebar.

I just feel like things are going to get harder from here out not easier. And that sort of stinks.

Oh well though that's life. Once this debt is gone I will feel a little more like at equilibrium and will be able to see through the fog again. I'm just happy that I had the good sense to recognize the bad behavior before it did some really serious permanent damage.

Here's to a new routine and more savings in 2016!

Had to spend a little but now my kitchen is organized

April 12th, 2016 at 01:16 pm

Well so far so good. I had to spend a little this weekend in order to get shelf liners for the kitchen. The project took all weekend but now my kitchen is organized and I know where everything is which is great for my wallet and my waistline. It cost a little over $100 to line the whole kitchen, get a few cheap organizers and a small trash can, but it really is going to save me a time and money in the long run.

The balance on the card is down to $4000 from the original $5188. I have two paychecks in April but the third falls after the due date which means I will get hit with interest.

If my last paycheck from my part-time job comes in and is half decent or if my tax refund comes in, it'll make it easier to hit the mark. If neither of those things happen I can probably still hit the mark but it is going to be very painful.

After this whole thing is over I am going to focus on saving toward a new car almost exclusively (alongside with building up an emergency fund again). I have until August of next year to come up with a sizable down-payment if I keep this car which I might or if I buy another. I also could do another one-pay lease. I'll have to see what makes more sense financially when I get to that point.

It's just that I know with the new added payment to the 0% interest loan I cannot carry a car payment on top of everything else.

At least this deal worked out where I didn't have to do that. I mean voluntarily yes I am taking out a car payment to myself each month (or at least that was the plan now I will be getting back on track), but if I had to pay that to the bank each month with the other debt I'm carrying I would have very little left at the end of each month. It is nice to not have that over my head and still be in a reliable vehicle.

It is also nice to know the house is in good working order for now as long as we continue to take good care of it. The only other major repairs should be the roof in about 5-10 years and a possible re-model of one of the bathrooms so that it is not just a bath tub without the shower option.

Thanks for listening guys. It really helps to know that I'm not alone and that even if I get in a jam I know how to pull myself up by the bootstraps and keep on marching.

I put my credit card in the shredder

March 18th, 2016 at 11:48 am

The house needed some new improvements. Some I was able to get on a new card that they gave me with 0% interest for the life of the loan (5 years.)

Others I had to put on my own credit card because they couldn't offer me such a good deal.

I know myself. Once I have a large amount of money on a card I spend on it recklessly because my old defeatist "I'm never going to pay it off anyway" attitude kicks in.

I was setting up my home office the other day and noticed my credit card in a pile of things I was shredding. I decided to put it in the shredder. I knew I was over spending and I divert bills to this card every month for the points. I knew if I kept it in my wallet I'd keep spending on it.

I lost my debit card a while ago and I never replaced the card so I kept using me credit card for normal things too.

I decided that I'm going to go to the bank to pull out the cash I need when I need it and live like that until the large balance is paid off on my card. Since the card has gotten me into trouble lately I think I won't even request a new one after the balance is paid off. I think I will live on cash for a while until things settle down a bit more and I know I can handle it. Or if I have to make another large purchase and want the cash back.

I need to focus on savings now for the house and to get a new car. I need to focus on making retirement contributions and the possibility of expanding our family maybe. It's time to just smarten up and get some savings going now that I have a mortgage I don't have as much room for error. I really really need a cushion and I know that if I kept that credit card around I would have probably never bothered to build one.

I have other credit cards that don't have a dime on them. This is the only one that seemed to give me issues.

Have any of you had to take drastic measures like this before?

I now live in a house...

March 8th, 2016 at 03:28 pm

And I'm going to be broke for a while. However it is nice to essentially lock in my bills.

I know what it is going to cost me each month for the mortgage no more rent increases and that is major.

However things like car insurance, electricity, and what on earth I'm going to do a about a car when the lease runs out is variable.

I can handle variable as long as some things are locked in and I couldn't be happier. We got a great deal for the area and even though some upfront costs were involved I'm grateful those things were not "rolled in" to a mortgage I can pay those improvements off as I go and at a zero percent interest rate to boot!

I need to try to find a way though to increase my income so I can lessen my monthly responsibilities so sadly it looks like for the time being I will be locked in to my part time job since it looks like our salaries will not be going up at my main gig anytime soon.

A lot of excitement though that is for sure.

Veering off track

December 10th, 2015 at 09:56 pm

The most expensive dental work is done and paid for. Now I have the money to pay off that old med bill finally.

I have no debt on my cards that I'm responsible for. I had one transaction go south but I just called the credit card company and they are suppose to refund me the cash soon.

It's kind of disheartening to see such a huge balance on there but it is nice to know that they have my back.

I'm about two months behind where I wanted to be but I'm still employed and no longer in pain so that's a plus. My goal was to start a IRA for the new year so now I think I'll do that even if its just a small amount I would like to be putting something away toward retirement now that I have a steady gig.

I'm going to have to hide the cards on myself because I've been racking up balances, not making my own coffee or food or anything. I was basically fine with it before because I was in pain and recovering from dental procedures.

I'm gaining weight though and need to take advantage of my gym membership so I bought some decent sports bras and some nice fitting but cheap work out pants so I can have something to wear at the gym other than jeans or PJ bottoms.

I just need to try and stay on track now, the last big financial move a house is just over the horizon. I can feel it. Smile

Back at it

August 12th, 2015 at 10:03 pm

It was more than time to get back to my old ways, the ones that got me to pay off the last of my "bad" debt and let me grow a decent sized emergency fund.

I have to spent the next two checks knocking out the cc new debt, settling the remainder of the car insurance, paying the registration on the new car and making sure I have at least a month's worth of bills as a back up.

However, once that is done I will be back to my system. I hadn't done it in so long it took me a while to reinterpret it.

Good thing I did though I was off about $20 bucks or so on what I should be paying out to my bills and it was nice to set up my whole buckets system again.

Even though I make less than I did before I'm confident that I can get back on track again especially since this job is one that is suppose to be ongoing. (I say it that way because I don't like to take things for granted.)

It's nice to be saving toward a car too instead of worrying about a payment. I'm going to do my best so I can save enough to get a nice safe car next time with no car payment. Smile

Re-prioritizing goals

August 8th, 2015 at 11:05 pm

Well I decided to take in my faithful old stead. She was paid off, the warranty was about to expire, and she was near 100k (which affects trade in value).

She had been creaking and making me worry so (not to mention all the recalls I had been though) when my husband told me about a great deal they had on the lot due to a hail storm I decided to go for it.

I kow have 2 years to figure out what I want to do about a car so the plan is to save what would have been my payment on had I purchased this car and see where that gets me.

Things are evening out a bit so that's good. I'd still like to pay my old medical bill but it will have to put aside for now as a lot of money has crept back on to the credit cards again. They will be paid off at the top of September in the mean time I have put my check register in my wallet and keeping my receipts so that I can note if I've charged anything to my cards and keep track of the money I have left. I have to tighten the belt if I expect to pull off feats such as getting a house and saving my car payment.

I have been kinda going willy-nilly for a while there and while it was somewhat nice to be carefree for a bit the reality is I have a lot to accomplish and I need to get it kick started like yesterday.

However I'm so pleased that my emergency fund is almost at a grand again that puts me at ease. And now with a new car that puts me a bit more at ease.

My book habit is calming down a bit more too. I just need to catch up a bit in reading. I have enough books in the house to keep me busy for years to come at this point!

I decided today to re-map out it is what I need to save and what I want to be saving for. Now that I have a steady gig my priorities are slightly different. And with rent going up as it has we are really working to make getting a house a priority it wasn't really a possibility before with my previously iffy job situation.

I still don't take anything as a given though so working on those emergency funds is a numero uno priority for sure!

Its just nice to have a bit more breathing room but more breathing room doesn't mean I get to forget about my personal finance goals! Back to work. Smile

Second major pay day

June 26th, 2015 at 12:42 am

So happy I was able to pay off a huge chunk of current cc debt and put my part-time job check toward rebuilding my emergency fund too. Almost back up to $500 which makes me feel a little better.

Next time I get paid I'll be able to wipe out most of the last of the cc debt which is exciting.

Then I'll have taxes due again but that is okay its like slipping back into revolving cc debt.

I already pulled out my spending money for the next two weeks. I'm almost happy to be back on a budget and to get things back into control and on track again.

Tomorrow I will have to straighten out the Student Loan People again but no biggie. I have to do it every month. I'd rather do that then have to deal with the way they misappropriate the funds.

One time they lectured me about the way I send in extra payments and how it wasn't convenient to them. I found that somewhat hilarious.

Anyway hope I can sleep soon gotta get up and do it all again tomorrow.

Strolling along

February 28th, 2015 at 02:29 pm

I haven't been posting because there hasn't been much to post.

I am near the end of my EF funds and was picked up for a small task at my old contract position that will bring in some much needed funds.

I went on a trip recently which I had promised to go on when I still had funds so I went. I used up a lot of money and I feel bad about that but I don't feel bad about getting away.

I just paid off what was racked up on the cards during the trip. I still have one more trip to go for a wedding I'm in and I'm trying to get that money ASAP.

Still doing okay so far. After this project is done I'll figure something else out. I'm still working part-time which is great because of the constant influx of at least some cash.

Miss being able to post about stockpiling money but I'm sure that day will come again someday soon.

I am proud of myself for at least having the foresight to save that much money and keep my part-time job so I could keep paying my bills.

Next time I get a good paying contract I am going to pay off my smallest student loan that has been whittled down to below $450.

I will then save up as much as possible in my EF and see about fixing my teeth and paying off an old medical bill that has been in collections for quite some time.

I am happy that I thought of myself first in this situation and that I can continue to live the way I want to more or less.

Hope everyone else is doing well.

Enjoying my time off

August 15th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

My contract job ended about two weeks ago. Since then I've been busy doing side gigs and cleaning up the house but mostly enjoying my new found time to breathe. My goals are to actually start using my gym membership again and get back into hobbies I enjoy like reading.

I have about a month before I have to amp up earnings in the part time job and side gigs for now its just paying the groceries etc. I have a pretty nice cushion though that I can take from if necessary and it probably will be since rent will be going up in a few months but not by a fantastically large amount.

My updated resume is sitting at the desk of my old boss and HR per their request. The minute anything comes up that they can pick me up for they will. The summer job was promised to someone else apparently and no one told my boss that before she let me know about it. It's all good though everything happens for a reason.

I have a trip coming up soon that's paid off and that will be nice. Also there is a wedding next year that I am attending so that will be interesting.

And I'm more than likely going to be able to use my tax return toward paying the car insurance premium in full. All in all things are looking up and I could get that phone call any day. For now I'm enjoying having days to myself.

Nelnet woes and did my math wrong

July 25th, 2014 at 12:28 am

I was all happy because I am wiping out all the last of the credit card balances I got while stockpiling food and supplies for when my job goes away.

And then I discovered that I accidentally applied a payment out of the wrong account! Now I have to go through and fix this. And I was all happy because I thought I had extra money to send a little more to my student loan.

On the student loan front. I still have to reset it every month and that is a bummer. Oh well though I guess. At least I catch it every time but its taking them a long time to fix it this month. I hope there is not another fun excuse as to why its taking so long. They always seem to have something up their sleeve.

Well I can be happy for no more credit card debt and next check if all goes well I will have a bit of a buffer too so that's good news. I just worry a bit that I will drain all the savings but I think with the part time job I won't have to do that.

Well see how it goes. The pressure is on but at least I have a nice emergency fund!

Fridge died and ate all our food more cc debt to pay now :(

July 18th, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Luckily we live in an apartment and luckily I hadn't done the food run yet but our fridge broke and warmed up what little food we did have. So after they replaced it I was about $30 in the red on my credit cards to replace some items (that I had just bought too).

Then I noticed that some Family Dollar's were closing so I thought it would be best to stock up on cheap things that we usually get there on sale as the one nearest to us is closing down. That put me another $80 in the red although it means not having to buy cleaning products and other household products for about a year or so. Also Target had a sale on paper products so another $40 in the hole but again I won't have to buy that stuff for months now.

Then today I realized I only have one pair of pants that fit and I decided for some reason that I deserve to eat out after a meeting with work. So between goodwill for pants and food out so now I am another $40 in the hole.

I can pay this from the next check but man did it add up quickly. Funnily I have no idea were my most of credit and debit cards are but know they are in the house or car somewhere as misc charges are not popping up. The only card I had left on my person has 5% gas points only right now so I was even more mad that I lost out on good points with the card that gets 1.5 per dollar although that might have helped curb my spending.

I did need pants though as my others are falling off. I didn't need to eat out but stuck to something cheap. I did splurge on groceries and household products but we should be set for a while so I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I do need to find my cards though. If I remember right I hid them from myself and boy did I do a good job because I have no idea where they are!

That temp gig fell through at my job so now I'm just waiting to hear if they have anything else. Right now I'm focusing on exercise, eating right and home cooking. I even made pizza dough last week when I normally would have spent $25 to order it out. Also stayed in my normal budget for gas groceries etc aside from the those few splurges. So I'm confident next week will go much better.

The at home coffee habit is harder to slide back into but after wasting almost $10 on out coffee I'm pretty much back on track.

Getting pants at the store that fit made me realize how much of my gut I had gained back which is great motivation to go back to the gym. I feel tired and stressed lately and other times over energized with no outlet so hopefully exercise will even that out. So just waiting to hear then about some more gainful employment. In the mean time I'm doing the best to be kind to myself while not breaking the bank and since those deficits are all taken care of, from now on sticking to the darn budget.

Good news!

June 16th, 2014 at 11:06 pm

Looks like I might get picked up for other temp work at my job. This is amazing.

I just spent a lot of money though on this trip so my next check will have to resolve that. I just thought to myself how cuckoo to know I'll have money for a bit longer.

I tried to figure it out and I think what I'll do is:

Save money for the next car insurance lump sum.
Pay off my Old Medical Bill and raise money for Dental work.
Pay off the Hotel Stay.
Set myself up with payments for next year's once a year bills (car registration etc.)

Still do my 26 week challenge, still send an extra 20 each week to my lowest student loan. And pay myself car payments.

It feels sort of impossible but I do my best. I'm trying to get out from a pile of debt soon and buying all that stuff didn't help. I'm sure after this vacation though and the relaxation and enjoying the things I spent my money on I will get right back on track. It feels like I am not getting ahead but I'm a lot better off than I was with careful planning I should be right where I want to be in no time.

I also need to stop being so hard on myself! I have done a lot with a little.

What would you do?

May 23rd, 2014 at 01:09 pm

So I'm sitting here contemplating my last 3 paychecks and this time they look like they will be my last until my next job or contract comes up.

I'm think this is what I'm going to do but I'm open to suggestions from here (aside from the obvious find a job suggestion I'm already working on that.)

Here's the situation:

I have 3 paychecks left at approx. $1500 each after taxes each give or take a few hundred dollars.

I am married, and he works full time. I have a part time essentially minimum job that will cover my basic expenses plus about $20 if I increase my hours which is very possible to do, so bills would be covered after the contract job goes away and if I pay off my car insurance in full for the 6 months.

I do have an emergency fund that can cover four months of expenses if I do not pay off the car insurance and 6 months of expenses if I do pay off the car insurance in full.

So from the three checks I need to take out bills and car insurance.

That about $820 for bills, $880 for car insurance pre-pay and $300 total from the checks to cover spending expenses so $2000 gone leaving $2500.

Usually I put a whole bunch of this money to retirement and other goals but since these are the last 3 checks it might be best to stretch this cash to make not having gainful employment a little easier.

I could save another 6 months of car insurance pre-pay money from here so that I know I would be good for a year on car insurance and then save the rest to do the dental work I need done. So that would be -$1100** leaving $1400 for dental work (and we have dental insurance.)

I also have some things like car registration etc coming up that I need to pay but I have saved up funds for them.

If you were in this situation what would you do?

(** Car insurance is very expensive here and we've shopped around everywhere else its double the amount. We have low deductibles because its easier to pay out a bit extra each month to insurance than to come up with $1000 since my job situation is what it is.)

Starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel

May 2nd, 2014 at 03:58 pm

Today was an interesting day. I reworked my financial plan so that I'd be able to make a large payment on my car loan. I made sure I paid myself first and had the minimum I need for spending money too.

It is like stepping into the world of the unknown. The real actual end time of the project is fast approaching. However, I have been living like a pauper since February when I decided to aggressively pay off my car loan. I felt sad and deprived at first for cutting out the last of the indulgences I had allowed myself. A cookie here, a coffee there, a little meal out.

But now its become a habit. I make my own iced drinks unless I've earned a free one through rewards programs. I pay cash for all expenses so they don't loom on my credit card. This will serve me well when the assignment ends because not much will change as far as expenses go.

I started saving small amounts for the things I want and I should be able to do so even with the part-time job only.

In a weird way I feel somewhat free. It is crazy to think I just made another payment on my car that is more than my rent payment. But then it also feels liberating to know that if all goes well by the end of May, I will no longer have a car payment.

Even a year ago this wouldn't have been possible. I am worried of course as that is my nature but also excited. I have savings and a plan.

If everything works out that will be great. If not there are very few payments left on my car and I'll dip into my savings to make it work if I have to.

It's comforting to hold on to the thought that everything might be okay after all.

Interesting article on financial goals

April 21st, 2014 at 02:49 pm

Recently when figuring out which stock I should invest in next in my IRA I stumbled across this article: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/04/17/goals.aspx

I'm glad it did because it made me feel better and calm down a bit.

In the past few weeks I've gone $931 in the negative. But its not a biggie. Both were interest free, one on a 0% credit card and the other out of savings. I am now only $799 in that hole as of the last paycheck. While it was a bummer it was a wake up call as well.

I'd be so headstrong and exclusively focused on my goal of paying off my car that I forgot that life is still going to happen in the meantime.

My husband and I will want to go out for a dinner at some point or a vacation. There will be a birthday for someone whom I usually buy a gift. And then every once in a while we will want to go out and have fun.

I had neglected that part of my budget heavily as the time neared for my assignment to be over. I just wanted to throw every last time toward car repayment so I can have it paid off ASAP.

Well I have done a fantastic job at that for sure and if I could somehow manage some full paychecks and I can put another chunk of money toward that. But I still have to make up more of this 799 dollar deficit. I still need to budget for future things I know are going to happen so they don't end up on a credit card racking up interest or taking away from being able to pay off my loans.

And beside all that my original goal was to make sure I'd be able to pay off the car by the end of 2014 which was achieved. Then I got all ambitious, and it went from that to trying to make sure the car was paid off before December so it wouldn't take away from Christmas (which I am already saving for.) Then it turned into maybe I can pay off the car in time for me to pay for the registration, which morphed into I have to pay off the car before my assignment ends. Which ultimately lead to me being stressed out beyond belief for about the last month and a half.

I read the article realized how overzealous I had become and took a step back making payment plans and goals realizing that while they would be more difficult to reach while underemployed it wouldn't be impossible.

I also started researching ways to get some more side income to insure I can stay on track. All in all I have learned to just sit back and stick to the established plan. While its fine to reevaluate or pay some extra. It is not an all consuming omnipresent thing anymore.

The car will be paid off before the end of 2014. Anything extra is a bonus. Christmas will happen, we will be able to take our trip. Everything will be okay. I just need to stick to the plan and everything will be fine! Smile

A week controlling what I can by eating in with healthy substitutions

January 29th, 2014 at 11:17 am

There is nothing more that I can do about my job situation other than what I am already doing. It will end when it ends. Instead of obsessing and hoping that there will be more money all I can do is work with the money I know I have.

I finally just decided to allocate my remaining paychecks on:

1) Building a Dental Fund, I will have insurance soon but dental insurance is iffy and I have a lot of repairs. I'm thinking 800-1000 would be a good start.

and

2) If there's something left over, I'd like to pay off enough on the car (~$900) so that there wouldn't be negative equity should it require a repair that is not covered by my warranty and so costly that I'd just need to trade it in for a new one.

Now that that is settled in my mind I have realized that I have to take steps toward my next goal which is being more healthy in general. Since I've been somewhat successful at money and often tell myself that I can't afford food that I want to cook, I am going to call my own bluff.

For the next week beginning today I am going to eat in. If I conceive of something I'd like to eat out I will just make the at home equivalent instead ensuring that it has nutrients and protein. This is great financially because in most cases it will be about half the cost.

At the end of the week I should I have proved to myself that I can eat healthy for what I can afford comfortably for groceries.

Today I have already talked myself out of eating a croissant or cookie from a coffee shop by subbing it with a PB & J Sandwich. And I will be making a cheese pasta dish at home with a side of beans instead of ordering a little bowl of mac and cheese from Panera.

With this switch I have saved myself from spending about seven dollars and insured that I am not a hungry raving mad lunatic. I think this change might get addictive...Smile

Yey for payday and good habits

January 24th, 2014 at 12:03 am

With no more balances on the credit cards I've quite enjoyed paying in cash and sticking to a budget. Something I never thought I would say!

Just got paid and despite choosing to save over making as big of an extra car payment I feel great. My EF is finally at 2K again and my savings account is getting ever closer to that 4 months worth of expenses goal. Things are progressing toward ending in my project but the likelihood of being called back for another seems good. Whether that happens soon I don't know.

My resume is out there and I'll network but now that my financial habits seem to be well established I think its finally time to start to focus more seriously on health goals. I've used what I've learned to sticking to financial habits to set some doable and easy to keep up fitness goals.

I'm thinking they will serve me well if I stick to it.

It's funny to think how far I've come in a year. I went from not having any savings and no job to a part-time job to this wonderful project that I took on which has allowed me to pay off my credit card balances, create an EF, increase retirement contributions and develop a budget that even allows me to save toward goals like paying off my car loan early.

This whole experience has just been fantastic and I know that no matter what happens I will stick to the plan. So refreshing to be here. The first step is always hard but to be here after a year feels fantastic. Thank goodness I took the initiative to make it all happen.

One last dilemma I have though is that if I have a month left I know I can use the next paycheck toward debt. And the last one toward bills.

My goal is to pay off the car but the student loans are not really shrinking. I might have 700 extra to put toward a debt in the next check (after taking out money for retirement, goals, etc.)

So knowing the situation would you:

A - Put the money toward paying the car currently at 5305 with 10% interest

B - Put it toward the smallest of the student loans (1K) with 6.55% interest

*All my student loans are federal loans

Back on track

January 10th, 2014 at 12:47 am

It has been a crazy December having a balance that seemed to replenish itself every time it was paid off. But now its January and a new year.

The camera is now paid off and even though it was a low paycheck I was still able to put a tiny bit toward savings and the car goal and retirement.

Have to say I'm not doing too bad. Hopefully this cold will taper off and then I can put in some overtime hours to get closer and closer to my goals before my job goes away.

Things seemed bleak there for a while but they are okay again. I'm half way through my house organization project and I'm okay with not being able to finish it due to lack of finances.

For one thing I'm not sure of what I want to buy and for another I'm thrilled that I am right back on the if I don't have the money than don't buy it plan.

I'm just happy to know that even if I do get a little of track I can get right back on again. The other good news is that I have been saving money and working toward my goals for so long now that it feels weird to not put away money toward them.

I'm thinking that by allowing myself to get that camera I can focus again. Before it seemed like an endless tunnel of no fun and like I would never be able to get what I want to get and only things I need. But by allowing myself to get something I've wanted for two years it seems that I feel a little more upbeat now and happy.

I have also decided that at some point soon I will allow myself to buy some clothes as I have very few. Yes I need to lose weight but I need to have something to dress myself in the time being! Hope everyone is doing okay in the post holiday/trying to keep up with their resolutions January.

I got a new toy!!

December 30th, 2013 at 03:08 pm

Christmas was awesome and I was able to reward myself with something I wanted forever. A beginner dSLR camera I'm so excited to learn about it. It came with some classes and what not to show me how to use the thing.

Things will go back on track for money but its nice to see efforts pay off. I hit my goals and allowed myself to have something I have been pinning for for years it feels pretty damn good.

Still have no credit card debt which is fantastic and it looks like the job will drag on for a little while longer so all in all a good holiday week. Smile

Getting too tired to keep going

December 20th, 2013 at 09:49 am

The time might have come to end my part-time job. They are trying to boss me around and impede on my regular full-time temp job.

The mention of the place causes me stress. They just upped my hours which has affected my full time job. I am worried about not being able to put as many hours in my full time job which has comprimised my ability to work toward my 6 month emergency fund goal and my goal of paying off the car earlier.

It's starting to feel pointless. I was so tired and lazy I didn't make at home coffee and got some meals out which cost me an extra 35 dollars.

Christmas is here and I wanted to get the cards out on time. Between my full and part time jobs there is no time for that.

Maybe after the holidays and my shifts are less I'll feel better but right now the stress of the full time job and the unnecessary stress of the part-time job are eating away at me and I just can't take it.

I have been working both jobs for almost a year now it is overwhelming. I hope that I'll be able to recoup and renergize soon because right now things seem rather hopeless and futile.

Hope everyone else is having a better holiday time than I am.

Christmas grrr

December 13th, 2013 at 10:55 am

I am still working at my temp job which is lovely. But I decided to do a little extra for Christmas which has put my put extra payments toward my car plan on hold.

But good news is I'm still contributing to my IRA, toward my EF and x amount of expenses month fund while keeping my cc balance manageable. I put some Christmas things on there for the reward points. It was great to see that high balance disappear just as quickly as it was charged with now rewards all for myself. I'm hoping that I can get my EF back to at least 2K again before the end of the year and fund my savings account for 4 months of expenses. That would be grand!

In the meantime I'm working in my resume to get my next gig all lined up so I can keep this financial stability going into the new year! And trying to restore balance by getting back to the gym. Need something to get all this energy out.

Somewhat upset but hopeful

November 17th, 2013 at 09:52 pm

I did the calcs with the new book I got and while I'm happy I'm in control of finances I realized that I should have been saving more.

But here's the thing.

Since this temp job started:

-I planned a wedding for less than 5K and it is completely paid off.

-I paid off 3200 worth of credit card debt.

-I had 2800 in my emergency fund in September before my medical emergency cut it down to 1200.

-Aside from my emergency fund, as of this week I have money set aside for 3 months worth of expenses.

I'm mad because:

-My temp employment means I can't save as much as I'd like to for retirement.

-My credit card debt has kept me from saving for an emergency fund and retirement for far too long, I am very happy to be rid of it.

-My current debt keeps me from being able to buy myself many things I'd like to buy, which normally doesn't bother me but seeing how far behind I am in my goals and knowing my current employment is running out soon makes me feel like its all going to reset and I'll run out of all the money before someone is willing to hire me again.

-I should have asked my current employer if I was eligible for unemployment. I always have been when I worked at a temp agency but these guys hired me as a no benefits temp employee. I can of course ask HR this but I may want to wait until I'm much closer to the end.

-Knowing that I might not be entitled to unemployment its scary to think I only have 3 months worth of expenses saved up and have to rely on my part-time job only to carry me through once those funds run out.

-I still have less than 1000 in my IRA, I've had this IRA since I was 18. If I had been able to put more money in there I would have much more. The returns on the stocks I invested in almost 10 years ago have been amazing.

Ultimately though I haven't done so bad for myself. I paid for a wedding, didn't touch a penny of my part time job checks except for 4, one for tires for the car, one for medical bills and 2 for the wedding.

-I did save up 3 months worth of expenses and while its scary to think I may have to rely on it, its comforting to know that I have at least that cushion.

-I have done the best I can do to replenish the EF but felt it was more important to get rid of the cc debt since I have no idea what the pay rate will be on my next gig but know that there is no way I can pay it off on my part-time one.

-I also managed to convince my 2 of my credit card companies to convert my cards into rewards so now when I choose to use them I am getting money back to do so.

-I have kept my expenses low and learned to cook more things which means we eat out a lot less than we used to.

-I gave myself a break and I am finally giving myself a few more bucks each week to spend on food etc. This should help from racking up the cards again as well.

All in all the picture isn't bleak but its still not rosy. I'm a lot better off than I was when I graduated from school and doing fine considering that this economy is awful and some people have had no work at all while I still continue to get at least 1 assignment a year.

I am grateful but it does get hard. I start to wonder if my goals are reachable, if a home or children is financially even possible.

I do hope my current position calls me back but I'm going to stay strong and hope for the best. I stand by my work and efforts and just soldier on to the next job. This time though unlike the last time I have a bigger buffer than before, which is good because I might end up needing it!

Discretionary spending is part of the budget too!

November 13th, 2013 at 08:11 am

I just bought a personal finance book that helps me figure out how to save money with my irregular income. Now that my credit card debt is paid off I wasn't quite sure what to do next.

The answer seems to be save. But I have charged some things to the card the past two weeks. I felt like a failure til I read this book and realized. I wasn't setting aside enough money for what I actually spend each month.

So I calculated out that number and its isn't that much in the grand scheme of things but I'd like to lower it. For now while I still have steady cash flow I'm finally going to accurately allocate money toward my spending trends each month (groceries, eating out, entertainment, shopping - as in buying clothes, a kitchen tool etc)

I'm hoping now that I'm not trying to put every penny toward those other credit card payments by giving myself an realistic "allowance" I can now not feel deprived and use everything that is left over to reach my goals while sitting being able to put gas in my car or have one coffee a week if I choose.

I do worry that I will not save enough before my assignment ends but I haven't finished the book yet either.

My goals for this week's paycheck are:
-Pay off the groceries I charged to the credit card because I ran out of money
-Give myself an allowance so that next week's groceries won't end up on the credit card.
-Plug those holes that have left me just short of the 3 month expense goals.
-If anything is left over apply it to your other financial goals.

And for myself I'd like to finish reading that book. A part of me wishes I had come across it before but in reality I'm happy I did enough on my own and got to a positive point where I realized now that my credit card debt is gone I need to come up with a system so that I don't mismanage my new found "extra money."

Looking at the big financial picture I really haven't done too badly for myself. But I can always do better. This whole financial security thing seems to really suit me lol.

Looking at the big picture once again.

November 6th, 2013 at 02:26 pm

Now that the credit card debt really is gone I have started to get some clarity on what I should do next. I started looking into money advice for people with irregular income like myself.

It seems like so far I've done well. I have lived off of way less than my means and saved almost 3 months of expenses plus an emergency fund.

The advice I had never encountered before was to take into account your other expenses which is a good idea. I had never formulated much of a budget on items such as groceries, eating out etc. Just restricted my spending to a certain amount which I never seem to hit.

I have had mint tracking my expenses for quite some time and have a list of bills that I do have to pay throughout the year even if they happen once a year (renter's insurance, excise tax/registration etc etc).

Now I just have to insure I budget for those as well. I have probably have another month of work or so. I'll figure out my numbers once my printer ink arrives and see what else I can be doing to ensure that I stay afloat while I have little to no cash flow.

For the first time in a long time I feel full of possibilities rather than worried about how I am going to make it through. That is encouraging and a very nice place to be indeed.


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