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Back at it

August 13th, 2015 at 05:03 am

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

Second major pay day

June 26th, 2015 at 07:42 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.

Car issues, keeping up with frugality and reflection on total debt

April 30th, 2014 at 10:31 pm

I got in a minor car accident this weekend. My car wouldn't stop in the parking lot for some reason so it hit another car. Such a bummer. Went in the store and found the person then exchanged info. I'll pay the deductible on the car insurance to keep my car checked out.

Right after that I called the dealership about getting my car fixed up for the recall and the parts are not in yet thats a bigger bummer.

Been feeling really down lately so work has been slow going. Started doing that thing where I internet browse items I cannot afford.

This time was a little different though. I realized because I have paid off as much as I have I am that much closer to actually affording those things if I wanted. That was kind of nice.

My grocery budget is busted so we are shopping out of the pantry until midnight tomorrow when I get paid. I have made a solid commitment to not touch the credit cards and have stuck to it. It is not fun but it is nice to know I don't owe anything to any body right now aside from my established loans and the bills. All extra money is going to the hotel stay for our trip and saving some spending money for the trip as well.

I wanted to pay the car insurance bill in full again but I'm not sure I can do it. I will need some help or have to take money out of the savings to close the gap. I think I might just do that it will be easier to cover things if I don't have the bill hanging over my head. The first priority is the car though. The car payment is much more a month to month than the insurance and if I'm not mistaken owning the car should even lower the insurance a bit.

It of course once again depends on the job situation. I am trying to commit to fitness as well so I have something else to focus on other than stress and it might mean I'll look good on the trip too.

I realized not that long ago when stressing out about debt that I have not only done a great deal in eliminating debt in the past year but have actually basically halved my debt since I got out of school and started working.

When I got out of school I had 7K worth of credit card debt, 21K worth of student loans and I got my car which was another 14K for a grand total of: 42K.

Now it is actually a little over 20K with no credit card debt (save for 400 on a 0% interest card that is being paid off each check), under 18K worth of student loans and a little over 2K on the car.

That made me feel really good. Not bad for a permanent temp!

Payday

April 18th, 2014 at 08:31 am

Well not an exciting paycheck for sure.

I charged up a stay for our upcoming trip on the 0% card so I made my first payment to that.

I had a deficit in my bill account because I forgot I needed an extra month cushion, I used most of my check eliminate that deficit.

I have another deficit in a monthly expenses savings account which I was only able to contribute a dollar toward in this check but its still better than nothing. Next check I should be able to put more.

I was able to keep all my savings including retirement savings goals which was nice.

I was able to set aside a little money for our anniversary, plus some money for a b-day gift I will be sending out shortly.

I did not have enough to pay a lot extra on the car but I could make it an "even" amount.

Next check's goal is to make sure I am able to cover the bills and fill that other deficit.

This check and the next are going to be short checks due to the lack of hours as of late but no worries. I may have been hit by a truck load of bills all at once but I have a plan for making sure they get paid off even if I am just merely underemployed.

What a Difference a Year Made

April 11th, 2014 at 05:32 am

Every now and then I am bummed I can't make super high payments to debt. I have become obsessed with paying off my car. And seriously considering what I can do for a side hustle that will ensure I bring in at least $1000 every month. If I could make that happen I could ensure that I am able to pay my bills without depleting my monthly bill fund while underemployed.

I decided that I should look back and see where I was before I buried my self in my debt sorrows.

At this point last year I had:

Income
1 contract job slated to end soon and a part-time position that paid nearly minimum wage

Revolving Credit Card Debt
476 10.24%
1470 19.8%

Car Loan
7779 10%

Student Loans
19513

Emer Fund
413

Monthly Goals Fund
Half a month worth

Retirement
614


Now:
Income
Same

Revolving Credit Card Debt
None

Car Loan
2,400 10%

Student Loans
18147

Emer Fund
3036

Montly Goals Fund
4 months worth

Retirement
2483


Debt

A year ago: 29238

Now: 20547

Difference: -8691

I have come a long way since last year. I need to be proud. I need to remind myself that I am doing all that I can. And seeking additional income is a fine way to make sure that I am still able to do so. Since I still have my part time job closing that gap is all the less difficult. I am both frightened and excited for the future. It is so full of possibility and opportunities abound. If I am even half as successful at adding extra income as I have been at eliminated debt in the past year it would be a blessing.

Nothing about this has been easy but if it were everyone would be doing it right? Wink

Starting to dream about quitting my part time job

March 24th, 2014 at 05:50 am

My part time job is starting to get in the way of my assignment in a big way. And now I may have to take some time off to help my husband after his surgery. I'm at the point now where if they try to be inflexible about this I will just go ahead and quit. I am sure not going to tell my husband that I have to go tend to my part time job and he is just going have to be on his own.

My assignment has noted that they would like to pick me up for future assignments and there are already some plans in the works. Which is promising although I have been told that before.

On the one hand it seems silly to quit after putting up with it for so long and beside that it would be nice to have some income other than savings when my assignment does end (assuming I do not have unemployment.) But after working two jobs for more than a year now its really starting to take a toll on my well-being.

I feel like I am at the half way point though. Almost done with the car payments. Starting to finally save toward fun goals etc and losing the part time job would mean I'd have to take money much more money out of my regular check to fund my emergency fund which would live little breathing room to save for all those other things that I just started saving for. It would be tight unless I had overtime in each check. So now its a matter of living even more frugally than I already am or continuing to give up all my time to have that little bit of extra money.

I will stick with it if they agree to keep my hours low, and give me the time off to care for my husband. But if they don't it may be time to part ways with them. I do have other companies that I can do work for doing small temp jobs. And I may be able to make it by on unemployment.

Either way I think I'm going to set a tentative end date of this December. If everything goes well and I'm still working two jobs after this conversation with them than I will keep working with them squirreling away enough money to hit the 12 months worth of expenses mark which I could save up by then if I did it aggressively I'm already a quarter of the way there if I don't count my emergency fund. If I hit my mark in December I will quit my part time job and regain my sanity.

Pondering my savings

March 20th, 2014 at 05:52 pm

I have massed a total of $7774 between an account I consider my emergency fund and an account I consider a fund to cover expenses in between assignments.

I am working hard toward making sure I have at least 6 months and working my way to up 12 months worth of cash for cover expenses. Right now between the two accounts I have 5 months (6 months if I deferred my student loans) worth of expenses.

The longest I have gone with out gainful employment was 9 months as last time I ran out of unemployment and had to get a part-time job to cover any portion of my expenses possible.

I am thinking of paying off my car loan in the next month. If I do this I will be effectively making sure that I have enough money in the emergency fund to cover 6 months of expenses (8 months if I defer student loans.)

I also need to save something for dentist work that is probably overdue and very necessary.

I guess we'll just have to see how much is in the checks and decide. As of right now today's check is to pay off medical debt, and the next is to pay the monthly bills. The next may will go to savings and after that I may just knock another grand off the car loan.

It's nice to be in a place like this. I've read over and over that if you pay yourself first it will really pay off but its nice to finally see the fruits of that labor and realize by cutting unnecessary expenses I have build myself some solid financial ground to stand on. It's the first sigh of relief I've felt in quite some time.

Also I was wrong in the last post I am on track for the paying off the car this year -$130 or so. I forgot to calculate in this months automatic payment.

Goals accomplished and on track

March 7th, 2014 at 08:44 am

As of tonight I have 3K in my emer fund plus, 4 months of expenses and I will be able to pay off my car by the end of this year even with the income from my part time job.

Even though my temp gig is ending soon I am so happy that I stuck it out and have made what I thought was the impossible possible.

I also hit 2K in my retirement account which feels really nice. I also need to find something else in invest in there. All in all I am pretty happy right now. It wasn't easy to get to this point so now I guess the challenge/focus is to keep the income coming into so that I can pay bills and keep saving while underemployed.

Also got rid of some old stuff for cash which was nice.

Financial Reality Check

March 4th, 2014 at 07:18 pm

I have racked up a few hundred dollars again on the credit card.

I figured out a while back that if I do not give myself enough spending money for a long time this tends to happen.

I need to figure out a way to make it by on less spending money as I will be underemployed soon. I slipped up in the last two weeks with so many hours of work I got tired and lazy and just paid for things I shouldn't have made room for with the credit card.

I've been looking into how to make it by when I'm back on minimum wage and what I am planning on doing looks fine. I'm going to seek out higher earning contract work, and try doing side jobs. Now I'm just having to get in that mindset. I think if I go back to to only the one part-time job I may have to literally freeze the cards as I just don't see myself having the self-control to not use them.

I hope I can change my mindset between here and there.

Everything happens for a reason

February 14th, 2014 at 07:53 pm

Well I am hell bent on my car goal. But I went a little cuckoo for a while and tried to convince myself I should have/deserve an item that would have cost thousands.

Then I sat down and crunched the numbers. I would have had to wipe out one of my savings accounts and half of another to get a discount on the item or put it on a credit card and take on several hundred dollars of interest.

After the truth hitting me and realizing that I only realistically have another month or so of gainful employment if I am lucky I realized that I don't "deserve" anything. I choose what I want and I have worked so hard to get this this point financially. Why blow it all on a purchase that I cant comfortably afford.

I realized its a self-sabotage thing I do every time I am close to the end of an assignment. I do something that I shouldn't do financially and pay for it dearly while I am unemployed. Of course in the past few years its been not that bad in the last assignment I paid off a high interest credit card and then bought myself an item worth several hundred dollars when I could have had a wee bit more in savings.

This time I almost wiped out half my savings to get a item negating months of success saving and completely eliminating credit card debt.

I also thought to myself why on earth am I willing to wipe out my savings for this item and "make it up" in the last two checks, but unwilling to make large payments on my car/into savings and keep what I already have saved as well.

I crunched some numbers and I can affordably make two large payments out of my next two checks so that I am on track for paying off my car by the end of the year as per my goal and promise I made to myself at the beginning of the year. And I can do this just on the part time job income if I get no unemployment.

I was elated. If I had not gone crazy and tried to buy something I could not afford I would have probably never figured that I can reach my goal and keep my promise to myself.

This is not the first time this happened. At my last assignment I was about to start investing for equipment for a new hobby when I realized that for the money I was willing to sacrifice and spend on it I could actually pay off my high interest credit card.

I think that move now almost two years ago pushed me in the direction that I am in now. Every success comes with that one first step forward.

Rather than condemn and chastise myself for wanting that item I am just going to shelve the idea and stay on track. Who knows maybe in a year I can afford it? Or maybe I'll just forget about it which is fine with me too.

Either way 2014 just got a whole lot brighter for the path eliminating debt and continuing to strive for financial independence.

Yey for payday and good habits

January 24th, 2014 at 08:03 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

Update: Things are better

December 28th, 2013 at 04:37 am

The part time job calmed down and they are way cutting my hours. And we got a week off from the temp job due to some project hold up.

The great thing is the missing money is not going to affect me at all because of my planning I had already taken the money for bills out of the last check.

I am optimistic again. And Christmas is paid off. Time to plan for the future and get back on track.

Hit another goal!

December 2nd, 2013 at 02:25 pm

My sad little IRA account has finally hit $1000. I had not been blessed with (fruitful) employment until recently (even if it is only temporary) and that fact combined with a little serious credit card debt meant that saving decent money toward retirement wasn't much of a reality til now.

So I guess I can look at it as 100 bucks a year for the last 10 years and reflect on the fact that it may be better than what most people in my age range have saved. I just know that now it will grow it to several thousand dollars now that there are no more credit card issues. It's amazing how much better I can sleep at night even with a small emergency fund, $1000 in my IRA and no interest racking up on my credit cards.

After three years I am finally making some goals

November 21st, 2013 at 07:26 pm

There are things that I want to do financially, a lot of things. But my debt and infrequent income have not allowed me to hope or dream for much of anything other than ensuring that my bills are paid on time.

Now with a little cushion in the bank, cc debt paid off and being at the tail end of my car loan I think its about time I started making some solid plans. Just strive to make money and focus on paying off debts and increasing savings.

I want to be able to reasonably afford a new car when I'll need one and save up a nice down payment on a house while paying down debts and socking away money in my retirement fund. It may be a lot to ask but at least now it seems within the realm of possibility. My cash system has finally worked correctly and I haven't picked up a credit card to charge anything that I couldn't already afford/had budgeted for with cash.

Even though its coming to the end of my current assignment I feel hopeful. My part time job will cover some expenses unemployment or brief temp assignments will cover the rest. I won't be easy but it never is. And at least this time I have a cash buffer and a plan. I'm so glad I sacrificed to pay off the debt. I feels so much lighter to know cc payments should no longer derail my efforts to pay down my loans.

I'm going to do the best that I can but for once I feel secure and that is really saying something for 3 years of not knowing how the next month will go.

Discretionary spending is part of the budget too!

November 13th, 2013 at 04:11 pm

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 10:26 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.

Possible New Medical Bill

October 22nd, 2013 at 04:42 pm

My teeth have been killing me lately the fillings on them have worn down I think. I still have no insurance and even with it dental work is pretty expensive. I have no idea how I can save up enough money for that but I am sure going to try. There are some places that will give you a free consultation. I think I will try one of those out and get an estimate and then shop around for other estimates. The dentists I have seen haven't all been great so I'll have to see if any of these are decent as well.

Decent probably costs more money. Frown I do need to eat though and its starting to get difficult due to the pain.

Countdown to midnight

October 17th, 2013 at 06:32 pm

I am so happy to report that first the first time in a long time I will be getting a paycheck from which I have not already spent a penny out of.

I am so excited to see how much I'll have left over after the bills and how much I can apply to my credit card to wipe out that pesky debt once and for all.

If I wipe it out I will have one less payment when my job ends which means this time I will have enough money left to afford groceries. I am just so excited.

More training to come on my contract job really happy that is going to go on longer. If it goes on long enough then maybe I can build a nice big fat EF before its all said and done. Smile

An end to credit card debt/ 2nd time credit card debt free

October 15th, 2013 at 06:47 pm

Things are going well at my contract job and so it looks like it will be going on for a bit longer.

Originally I was just going to stockpile money but now I see this opportunity to pay off my credit card debt again and it is an amazing thing to be so close to. It means to me one less payment I have to make when my contract job goes away which can be used to groceries.

Last time I had to pay $50 toward my credit card minimum and so I had $20 left to eat groceries. It was pretty gosh darn rough.

If the job goes on even longer than one month then depending on how much money is saved I will probably put my extra money in savings to build my cushion savings from 3 months to 6 months and build my EF back to 3 grand from the 1300 that it is at right now.

This next month is not going to be easy by any means but I will be so happy to know that I paid off my debt. I was credit card debt free once before and it did not last. This time I know it will since I have money in savings and did not touch my credit cards at all for the 9 month bout of unemployment I had. Weirdly or maybe not so I tend to charge on my cards when I have money thinking I will catch up.

After last weeks epiphany I do not think I will feel the need to do that anymore. I have been staying in my spending limits not buying things that I cannot afford right now. It has been so nice. And I know changing my mentality will mean I will no longer be racking up my credit cards.

My car loan is still $1500 over the worth of the car at the moment however I will reevaluate what I would like to do about that once the credit card is done depending on how long my contract employment will last and how much money is in my EF and my account with 3 months worth of expenses.

It feels so good to be that much closer to achieving my goals than sitting there in the negative because I could not wait to have something I thought I deserved or that I thought I needed.

Interest kills & a reflection on the path to here

September 26th, 2013 at 07:05 pm

My statement came in for CC2 and I've now been bounced back to 2237 from 2194. I used to just deal with interest it was just something I ignored with but now its made me angry. If I'm able to make my big payment on CC2 next week then I think I will consider moving the balance over to the other card which is having a special balance transfer offer of 0.00% offer and 3% balance fee. The rate is good until Jan 2015 and I know it will be paid off by then.

I overspent by about 9 dollars at the game but it could have been much worse. I know I can't trust myself with my credit cards when I'm out and about for an event and I'm so glad I was strict with myself. It always hurts to wake up the next day and wake up and realized that you spent and extra 70 and have to figure out where its going to come from.

This site had been great and kept me on the straight and narrow. I still sometimes lament on not being able to afford things but keeping on the path to being debt free will allow me to splurge and afford it every once in a while like I was just able to on this game.

I remember a few years back when I first was able to go on a trip and every penny had already been paid off compared to years prior when I had to put it on a card or have a friend front me the money until I could pay them back.

I remember the first time having to come up with 1400 wasn't a Herculean task. I was out of school for a semester and they wanted me to come up with the money I had owed them for the previous one and I couldn't use my financial aid toward it. I had been working two jobs and was saving up cash and had about 1200 in my account. I was able to pay mostly in cash and the other bit with my credit card. During that time I was bummed I hadn't been able to make more of a dent in my cards but I figured if it came to being able to complete my education and saving myself some money in interest then education was the way to go.

The road to here hasn't been easy. Not having a steady job has certainly been difficult. But now I'm in a place where I have an emergency fund large enough to cover a serious issue, a few months of expenses save up, fully funded mini bucket funds and less than 3K worth of credit card debt. I do hate my part time job but it contributed to this financial state. I didn't like being a temp but if I hadn't been I wouldn't have gained such varied experience that led me to be the perfect candidate for my current contract position.

I am grateful for everything I have and know that one day if I keep working hard, saving and budgeting well I will get to that magical place were I am debt-free.

Rewards, oh sweet rewards

September 25th, 2013 at 04:34 pm

I have had a credit card with rewards for years now but I had just let them pile up in hopes to earn enough for a free trip. Since it is an AMEX though it was though to accumulate points as most places wouldn't accept it. I gave up on the dream after a while and ended up with about 10K points.

After coming to this site I realized I should pay more attention to my rewards and so I investigated and found out I could convert them for almost 100 in cash. That was pretty exciting so I immediately cashed them in. That's just 100 more toward my savings goals almost effortlessly. Then I went to two more rewards programs I participate in and found that I had almost 60.00 in rewards that I had not claimed yet. That is going into the Christmas fund. How exciting. In about a half about I had an extra 160. I really need to stay on top of those rewards!!

Here's the beginning of the road.

September 12th, 2013 at 07:24 pm

Today is my first day. I don't know if I'll stick to this blog but I sure hope so. Things have not been easy for me but with the help of my now loving husband we've been fine.

I'm currently working 2 jobs and it's been stressful and to add to the mess my husband is now doing the same for when my assignment ends. My second job is approximately minimum wage I work there still because I can't rely solely on unemployment.

Last time I was unemployed long enough that I had used up my claim which is when I got my part-time position. When I was finally approached about a contract position in my field I had not been gainfully employed for 9 months. That was a scary time for both myself and my husband but we made it through.

Financially I am doing okay but I still have one last credit card to pay off, a car loan, and student loans. Until this position I had no savings. Now that I do have savings don't feel that its enough.

I learn more everyday and this website has already taught me a lot and helped me set clear financial goals.

I hope this blog will help others like me to figure out what to do with our finances. Unlike most temps can't count on having a steady income. They have to make due with what they can get and hope they gained enough experience to be hired by the company or land another great assignment.

It's a really rough place to be financially but with some common sense and support (either a stash of cash for yourself, unemployment or someone who can help you out in the interim) you can stay sane as you navigate though.