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Month two ended...how I did...

June 4th, 2012 at 11:16 am

So...started this blog 2 months ago...so here is the number check in...

Debt decreased...$2.53 this month...yes...not the best month...but since my goal was to just not add to the debt this month...I feel pretty good...this was a pricey month with 2 trips, hotels, extra gas, new tires etc...so it was hard, and I had to up a payment $25 just to get to the small decrease...but it is worth it to me to do it...

So all in all since I joined April 2nd...my debt has decreased $979.31 and I am proud of that...I am hoping to have a much better decrease this coming month, as it should be a more normal month!

One of my credit cards was compromised this week...so they had to cancel it and issue a new one...such a hassle! More incentive to not have these things hanging over my head...though I do use a couple cards with rewards for monthly expenses that are paid off each month...so I can't see ever not using a credit card...

I also think I have made some decisions...I transferred a balance this past month...from the card that had the highest balance and interest rate...I moved it to my lowest rate card...of course I now have 0% interest rate offers on both those cards...so as much as it stinks...I plan to transfer back the entire balance...0% until Aug 2013...and then transfer the other 3 cards carrying a balance to the other card so that all my balances are sitting at 0% interest...yes, I will eat the transfer fee...but that is ONCE...and then all my payments will be decreasing the principal...so my husband and I have discussed it and it seems the best option right now...

So I feel good having started to tackle this monkey I have carried for a long time...

Here is to another good month!

Tough month as expected!

May 25th, 2012 at 01:15 pm

Well...this month has been tough as expected...with the wedding late last month, and my niece's graduation this month, it has been hard fitting in those extra's...while creating no new debt!

I have been keeping close eyes on things...we got our state income tax refund, and it went into a home repair fund, as our deck posts are warping, and will need to be replaced (new discovery of ours this month sadly)...the refund was not much, but it helps.

I am going to be getting off my rear and selling some things on resale sites this week...been putting it off, but I need to get things listed and sold...in order to break even and meet my no new debt goal...right now I am about $400 from that...so we will see what we can do with sales!

Anyways...I know it has been a while since I posted...but I am still here...just busy at work, and still sticking to the debt monkey getting GONE as soon as possible!

Here is hoping by my post at the end of next week and the end of my 2nd month, I have good news to report!

Happy Memorial Day to everyone...

First month update...how did I do??

May 2nd, 2012 at 10:21 am

Ok...so last month is when I decided to fully confront reality and address the debt monkey I have carried around for a very long time...

Just sat down and looked at all my balances...and I decreased my debt by $976.78 this month...not bad at all! Actually I am very pleased with this!

I know this month is going to be the hard month...we have a credit card we use for all monthly expenses and pay it off every month...and our monthly expenses are higher this month due to the trip for the wedding etc, new tires, etc. So realistically, if I can post next month with a decrease in debt of even just a little...I will be pleased! I know my focus is on not adding to the debt first and foremost...and this is just a very pricey month and a half for us!

My husband is away on a work trip...and while work pays for the trip and expenses, he does need some spending money etc...so that is additional out of pocket money even though it is not a huge amount that he took.

Next weekend we have an out of town trip for my niece's high school graduation...

So I will be glad when these little hits stop...it is a lot within one month for us...so if I can just keep the focus on not adding to the debt for my May goal, I will be happy...if it decreases any, I will be thrilled...but just not adding to it will be ok for me too considering everything!

Anyways...I am very pleased and glad I found this site...it does keep me accountable to myself and to this goal!

Trip #1 is done...assessing the damage...

April 24th, 2012 at 02:22 pm

So...been a little over a week since I last posted...

We left town last Wednesday morning to travel across several states to go to my brother-in-law's wedding. We did try to eat cheaper while traveling, but did have a nice meal out at the end of each long day of travel there and back. And we ate out the entire time we were there...but we were treated one meal by my mother in law...and we treated one meal (to avoid the family squabbles that occur) and then we had to meals for the rehearsal and wedding that were included...so yea, food is the biggest cost of this wedding trip! So still assessing the damage.

Good points...our VW Jetta TDI (diesel) gets fantastic gas mileage...so that helps and makes it so we can avoid the high cost states....

My Mom stayed at the house to house sit and critter sit...so we saved a BUNDLE there...

We house sat and critter sat for my brother in law and new wife...so we avoided 3 nights of hotel costs other family members had to incur...so YAY for being the animal crazy members of the family and getting asked!

All in all, it was a good trip, and I think we did well. I think it will take a hit on our debt repayment, but we should still see a decrease this month when we get to the end of the month...

And we were able to be a big part of a special weekend and the joining of a newly married couple...and that is priceless.

Trying to stay the course...

April 16th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

So...2 weeks into this...and trying to stay the course...it is getting harder...but I knew it would.

My busy time at work is about to end, but we leave immediately for a trip several states away for a family wedding. So this is going to be tricky to stay on budget, though we should only have one night in a hotel since we have been elected to be the "pet keepers" out of the family so we get to stay with the soon to be married couple! I can feed some kitties and walk a pup to keep from shelling out hundreds to a hotel over this long weekend!

Good points for last week...I did use $150 in gift cards towards new tires for my husband's car last week...and he found the best place to get them, so they were $700 versus $800...so basically, $550 out of pocket.

I managed to save my daily iced tea money 4 out of 6 days...so not perfect, but better.

I had to buy some heartworm meds for the doggies, but there is a $5 rebate, since I bought a year supply (which with 2 pups ends up only being a 6 month supply) so the rebate is in the mail...these rebates etc is what I have been using to add to savings...little here, little there, it adds up!

I am still working at getting a budget together and through all these conversations with my husband, I found out he forgot to pay a couple utility bills, so that is extra out of the account this month, and things I am going to keep track of so that does not happen again! And once we have a budget and a calendar laying out due dates, we will be able to check bills off easier!

But all in all, I feel better then I did 2 weeks ago. My head is not in the sand, and I am figuring a way to get the debt monkey gone...just will not happen soon enough for me, but every month the debt goes down is a good month! And so that is my goal this month, even with this wedding trip etc...to see the debt go down when I post the beginning of May!

Anyways, just had not posted and felt the need to pop in and say I am still here!

Little steps....

April 9th, 2012 at 12:59 pm

So it has been about a week since I started this blog...and I can tell you, some very positive things have come out of it.

First of all, I am no longer in denial and no longer have my head in the sand when it comes to my debt and finances.

Secondly I know I need to address certain things like the interest rates etc, and come up with a plan to get this done once and for all.

I am realizing that all my actions either support this new goal or do not support it, and am adjusting things as I see the "un-supportive" things...like taking things back, and going for the less expensive items when I can.

Like I had bought a beautiful dress for my brother-in-law's wedding coming up in 2 weeks...but I found another one that is a third the cost, and I can see myself wearing again, where the first one I am not sure I would have an occasion to wear it...so I will be returning the expensive one.

I also have a daily iced tea habit...it costs me 72 cents a day to get my iced tea...I discovered my husband also does this...so basically a little over $7 a week is going to iced tea...so I made a big pitcher of iced tea and it is in my fridge...it is not much, but every little bit helps, right?

Also remembered I have $150 worth of Visa gift cards, so we plan to use those towards the new tires from my last blog...so that should save us some money out of pocket...in the past I would have used that for "fun" money or a treat...but I feel better using it for a necessity and sticking to the plan.

The best thing that has come out of this decision though is the communication between my husband and myself. We are discussing finances, and things and deciding we can't afford things like a pricey trip to San Francisco, and hockey play off tickets...and are opting to camp or do something more affordable while we tackle this debt monkey. I actually feel like we are on the same page...and that is wonderful.

Anyways...thanks for all the wonderful comments...this has been a great first week here, and I look forward to sharing the rest of my journey with you all!

Two steps forward...a leap back...

April 6th, 2012 at 08:50 am

So...about a week into my new blog, and new mindset...it has been a hard week facing reality...but it was time.

I have returned two things this week...so YAY! And I also have spent the last two days unsubscribing from emails from shopping places...do not need the temptation, so no more emails. This actually makes me feel like I am taking my power back from the retailers.

I feel wonderful in making these steps...and deciding no on the hockey play off tickets. In addition, my husband and I have talked and we are not doing a trip we had planned this year since we really cannot afford it, we will instead use our time off to work on the house, or take a camping trip, which is definitely cheaper since we have all the stuff!

So while I am feeling positive about these things...the ball drops...I find out my husband's car needs new tires. Sigh. It feels like a big leap back. He is researching tires since his car has specialty tires, so he will find the best value, but it is still going to be about $800.

This is an expensive couple of months for us...we have a trip coming up to go to my husband's brothers wedding. We bought my husband a new suit (he needed one anyways) since he is the best man, and we have the trip out there...then I have a niece graduating, which will require a weekend trip with hotels, and a dog kennel bill...and we owed on our taxes, so that money will have to be paid...all these things I planned for, set money aside for...but not the tires.

It is ok...we will get the tires paid for, without creating more debt...it may just mean less debt gets paid off, which is frustrating when that is my plan. But just by having this plan and goal...we are spending less...so that should make a difference in the monthly expenditures, and still allow for a debt repayment.

I also am going to be looking into selling some more things on ebay...and getting my husband to list some things on craigslist....any money in is less money out of our pockets for these tires.

Anyways...thanks for listening to my rambles...I am looking forward to being less busy at work by the end of the month, and being able to work on a budget and getting balances DOWN!

Hope everyone has a good Easter weekend.

It stinks...but I cannot afford it...

April 4th, 2012 at 09:02 am

So...yea, this is tough. I took two big leaps this week...started the blog...laid my debt out there...both tough.

Now I have to live and work a plan...I am tracking my daily expenditures...like yesterday I spent 72 cents at the QT for iced tea...and $2.14 at Costco for a slice of pizza for dinner...other then that, nothing.

I even returned a package to QVC...I really do not shop there too much any more, but once in a while something "gets" me...so I returned a package Monday...so that is money saved, as I had bought it on easy pay...so one payment to be refunded...4 more will not be charged now...bravo to me.

My big test is right now...hockey play off tickets went on sale 44 minutes ago. I really want to go, which is why I know how long they have been on sale, but I am realizing I really cannot afford to go...and that sucks.

So the best thing I can come up with it...to deal with the mess I have created...focus, pay it off as quickly as I can...and next year, if playoffs come...I will hopefully be in the situation I can easily buy the tickets and enjoy the games.

I totally would have bought them before starting this blog and facing the harsh reality of totals. So I guess it is working.

But it still stinks.

The scary list...laying it out there...

April 2nd, 2012 at 11:28 am

Ok...so it was hard for me to take the jump and decide to blog about this journey out of debt...it is even harder for me to lay it all out there in numbers...but like I said, my head is out of the sand, and so here it goes.

These are just my personal credit cards...yes I have a car loan, it is at zero percent interest, so I am not worried about it...I also have a mortgage...also not listing it either. And this is just MY stuff...my husband's cards are not included...sooner or later I will get there, but right now, just tackling the consumer debt I have amassed is a big step for me...

As time goes on, I am going to be tracking my expenses, and budgeting, which will end up making me and my husband have to share the totals of the debt, and make a plan that is best for us...but I am starting this now with what I do know.

Right now...here is where it stands....

Card #1 Bal = $13,996.00, 0% until 4/12, then 23.99%
Card #2 Bal = $7,251.71, 18.74% interest
Card #3 Bal = $3,587.86, 13.99% interest
Card #4 Bal = $2,859.09, 20.24% interest
Card #5 Bal = $2,654.15, 16.90% interest

Grand total "stuff" debt = $30,348.81...

Um, yea. that was depressing in more ways then I can think of.

First of all...hello? Interest rates...guess I am going to be making some phone calls to see if I can get any of these lowered! I have never missed a payment, never been late, never underpaid...I actually have really good credit...so there is no reason I should have these interest rates THAT high. Wonder if anyone has any luck when calling to ask for lowered interest rates?

And yes...the total is disheartening. Completely terrible. In the past I have seen this...buckled down got several thousand paid off...then something happens and I "treat" myself and then boom, back here again.

So by laying it all out here...I have done 2 things...faced the harsh facts that are my reality...and looked at this and I can say...I will not see this number again...it goes down from here.

Thanks for all the warm welcomes after my first blog entry...it made me feel ok about laying this out here...scared, but you cannot face what you do not acknowledge...so this was a key step in this journey.

A fool no longer...

April 1st, 2012 at 05:41 pm

Since it is April Fools Day, I figure it is time to admit what a fool I have been, face it, confess it, and start my journey out of foolishness.

I stumbled across this website while looking for places to research and find like minded folks as I have decided it is time (well past time actually) for me to get out of debt, and into planning and living the life I want.

Here is my back story...my Dad passed away when I was a senior in high school, very unexpectedly. This did two things...it made my Mom start living for today because "You can't take it with you when you go" and it created a void in my family....that we filled by shopping, eating out, etc.

My Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer the very next year...another blow to the stability of my family. I am happy to say she is still around all these years later, though she did have to battle a return of her cancer 10 years after the first time.

When I graduated from college, and got my first job...I lived at home for another 2 years to pay my Mom rent, so she could pay off some debt she incurred in sending me to college. It worked out pretty well, but I did not save any money, and looking back, I should have.

Right before I moved out...my cousin's wife was undergoing a lung transplant....she had become a very good friend of mine, and was only 3 years older then me. While Mom was gone out of state at the hospital with them for the transplant....I discovered tv shopping....QVC...HSN...not a good thing. Sadly, my cousin's wife passed away a week after the transplant.

I moved out, and no longer had to explain packages...and packages came to me...a lot! I also had a best friend who was not financially well off (of course I was not either looking back, but hey, I had a full time job, she did not) and I ended up paying for a lot of outings when she was home from graduate school...phone bills, gifts to cheer her up as she struggled with depression, and the debt climbed.

I knew the shopping was filling a void in my life...and yet, I still did it.

I met my husband, and knew he was the one pretty quickly. I even showed him my "box room"...you know, the room I stacked all the QVC boxes etc in...he did not run away. We decided to get married, and we had the "lay it all out" meeting...I told him about my debt...he told me about his student loan debt, and other debt...neither of us ran.

We got married, and in doing so, created more debt...not really for the wedding, as we did a simple in the park wedding...but in getting us living together...for a month we had 3 apartments to pay rent on...and frankly we both were not good at denying ourselves, much less each other of things.

We also did not merge our money at first...I paid my bills, he paid his...and we both contributed to the rent and utility bills...as the years went on, and we bought cars and a house together...our finances merged. I hate to admit it, but this last year was the year we finally 100% merged our checking accounts...I wish we had done it sooner, but at least we did it.

Here I sit now...almost 8 years into my marriage...and I still have a shopping problem. I have cut back, a lot, since merging the money, because now my husband can see my money going into the account, and he can see my credit card payments. I can also see his.

We have struggled with infertility, and honestly...a big part of me has bought "stuff" to fill the baby void. I am coming to terms with whether or not baby ever happens, I need to address the debt issue for once and for all. And in addressing that issue, I have to address the shopping, which I feel is almost an addiction for me.

So my purpose of this blog is to create a safe place to address problems, issues, struggles I have on this journey, as well as to document the progress, and keep myself on track and accountable to myself.

I know I need to write down the debt...what it is, how much, where etc...and I will do that...I also need to create a budget, which sadly I have never done. I have no idea how much we spend on gas for the cars, or groceries, or eating out...so this really will be a process for me...it won't happen overnight, it won't always be easy, but I want this debt monkey off my back. I want to be financially free instead of chained down...

Thanks for reading all of this if you made it through...I hope to get to know a lot of you in this journey.