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August Goals

August 1st, 2013 at 08:47 am

My August goals are:

[ ] Pay sister back $800
[ ] Contribute any snowflakes/extras to EF - Build $200 in EF
[ ] Bring lunch to work every day - I am usually pretty good about this
[ ] Don't gamble
[ ] Follow zero-based budget and send everything over to CCs
[ ] Walk 4x/week
[ ] Go to the gym 4x/week

Slow Going

July 12th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

I continue to feel motivated to save and pay off debt. However, I am just starting to realize how slow-going everything is. There is a lot of waiting that is involved, isnít there? I have been looking at my spending/saving for the last week or so, and there really isnít much to report. I canít wait till the end of the month when I get paid and can repay my sister and start sending money off to credits cards.

A few updates Ė

The retirement thing has sort of worked itself out. After calling about 3 times, I reached someone who knew what she was doing and my retirement account is linked back again to my social security number. I canít access it yet, because they had to reissue me a PIN that will arrive in the mail in 2-3 weeks. But she assured me on the phone that I had about $8700 in the account not counting interest.

I have earned 3 Swagbucks this month already. Itís quite nice.

I have had lots of no-spend days, and the plan to eat frugally at home is working out beautifully thus far. We are eating a lot of bean soups.

My best friend is taking me out to a belated birthday dinner because she was not in town for my birthday. That will be nice.

My Budget and Debts

July 9th, 2013 at 02:22 pm

Ok, as promised, here is a list of what my debts, income and budget are going to be. I will also post on the forums to get additional feedback.

First, some background about my living situation. My partner and I live together in a rented apartment. He is disabled, and does a part-time job. Each month he brings in ~$800, and I earn ~$3600. We keep our finances separate. He has no debt, but has some medical and other expenses that I do not pay for. The lease is in my name and I pay the rent. We take turns paying for things like movie tickets, we chip in proportionally for any vacations that we take, and we go dutch when it comes to eating out. We go to the second-run theatre or get Redbox, and eat out using coupons or Groupon deals, so our spending in these categories is not too much (see budget). We share groceries Ė not in any particular way, but he buys some things and I buy other things as needed Ė it works out pretty evenly over the month.

The budget below only reflects MY income and spending. Also, it is a bare bones budget. I realize that other than the $100/mo that I want to send to the EF, I am not saving much more for unexpected events etc. However, with over $44000 in consumer debt, I want to attack that aggressively rather than have a lot sitting around in savings. If something unexpected happens and I need more than I have in my EF, I will borrow the money from my Personal Line of Credit and then pay it down ASAP. Once I am down to about half this debt, I will up the amount I send into the EF.

My employer pays a 6% employee contribution towards my retirement plan. They donít match Ė they just pay 6% in and no more. I have not planned to add anything to the retirement plan until I pay down my debt. My employer also pays contributions into a retirement reserve account, and I will receive a pension at retirement that is calculated based on salary at retirement. I have 2 more years to go towards vesting for the pension.

Income: $3600
Rent: $749*
Internet: $15 (my share)
Car Insurance: $40
Utilities: $45 (usually ends up bring around $30-40)
Cell phone: $46
Gas: $80**
Groceries: $100 (my share)
Eating Out: $80 (my share)
Miscellaneous: $100***
Emergency Fund: $100
Debt Reduction: $2245 (see section on debt below)

* I live on the West Coast, and this amount of rent is pretty reasonably frugal for my area. I will be looking for something slightly cheaper to move into when my lease is up at the end of August, but I donít know that I can lower this very much.
** This much works out for in town use. If I need more for out of town trips, I will budget for it or use Misc. money for smaller amounts that go over
*** Misc. covers most of my expenses that are not covered in the other categories. I rarely buy clothes that are not from thrift stores. I have no regular medical expenses.

Discover: $3033.67 (25.99% APR, need to pay this off first)
USBank 2: $7086.72 ($700 at 23.99% APR, the rest at 0% APR till 8/13, 15.99% after that)
USBank 3: $9188.27 (0% APR till 10/13, 15.99% after that)
Chase: $4869.50 (0% APR till 3/14. Hopefully it will be paid off by then)
Citi Expedia: $3335.00 (0% APR till 8/13. Hopefully will be paid off by the end of the year)
Personal LOC: $10441.84 (9% APR)
Car Loan: $6197.09 (3% APR)

The minimum payments on all of these combined come up to $815/mo. I plan on putting $2245/mo towards them all.

I will try to see if I can open new cards and transfer some of these to 0% balance rates. However, given my debt:income ratio, it is unlikely that I will be approved for new cards. I tried recently and was declined. I will try again every few months or so while I work on reducing these debts.