A Factory Working, College Grad Getting Out of Debt

Posts tagged “cheap living

January 2013 Bills Breakdown

Happy New Year!  Hopefully this one holds a lot of promise, as it’s now time to see what bills I need to pay this month.  It will obviously not be as horrendous as last month’s near $1000 output with very little input… but we’re getting there.  These totals are as of December 31st. The budget this month is simple: spend as little money as possible.  This is because I’m unemployed (like I haven’t said it enough???), and that obviously changes things a LOT.  Also, all of your comments and encouragement have been really helpful!  I’ll be taking some of your suggestions to heart these next coming months.  So… Let’s work this shall we?

Car loan: $3,749.68. This one does not need to be broken down.  The loan is through a credit union, and has slowly been paid off by adding an extra $50 onto the principle every month.   As discussed before, I will be doing this every month until it’s gone (or until I need to fund that extra $50 to say… my student loans). This month’s payment will be $301.00.

Credit Cards: Last month I revealed that I pay more than the minimum payment.  Some of you suggested actually using Ramsey’s snowball effect however and picking a card to eliminate right off the bat, working with the smallest balances first.  Well, that’s a great idea, but I still like to have a little more than the minimum.  So this month, we’re going to try something new.  This month, because I’m unemployed, I will only be paying minimum balance (except Amazon & Solidarity) and the oddball change and then putting a major chunk on one of the card balances to take a massive bite out of it.

  • Solidarity Visa: $2579.00  Minimum payment: $30.00. This month’s payment will be $30.00.
  • Chase: $1340.75  Minimum payment: $28.00.  This month’s payment will be $28.75.
  • Pay Pal Bill Me Later: $1884.67 Minimum payment: $53.00. This month’s payment will be $53.00.
  • Best Buy Store Card: $22.85  Minimum payment: $22.85. This month’s payment will be $22.85 = $0 Balance!!  Bye, bye BB Store Card!
  • Amazon Store Card: $811.91  Minimum payment: $25.00. This month’s payment will be $41.91.
  • DressBarn Store Card: $413.03  Minimum payment: $25.00.This month’s payment will be $25.03.
  • Capital One:  $63.20  Minimum payment: $25.  This month’s payment will be $63.20 = $0 Balance!!  Bye, bye Capital One Card!
  • Best Buy Mastercard: $208.08  Minimum payment: $15.00.This is still the card that I have been working on eliminating, so this month’s payment will be $35.26.

Total Credit Debt: $7,323.49   Total Payments: $300.00.

This is compared to last month’s credit debt of $7,373.96  and total payments of:  $240.38, which means my debt went down $50.47!  Hrm..  Last month, my Capital One card was in the negative balance, however, before I cancelled this card I needed to make sure that I used that negative balance.  I certainly did not want the credit card company to end up keeping this money just because I forgot to put in my payment into account when I transferred the balance to the Solidarity card… With that in mind, I bought Christmas gifts on this card and arranged to have it fully paid off this month.

Now that the big bills are paid off for another six months, I can once again up my payment budget.  I increased it this month to insure that not one, but two credit card balances are completely zero.  Huzzah!

Student Loans:

ECSI: $650.00  Still in grace period.  

Direct Loan:  $18,862.74  Still in grace period.  

I’m still unemployed.. So these are in the works of trying to be deferred at this time.  I’ll let you know if I succeed on that plan.

Other anticipated bills this month:

Thankfully, there are no other anticipated bills this month.  The hopeful job search will continue and I have a meeting coming up with the unemployment office.  So we shall see for what exactly I’m qualified.

Complete Total Debt: $30,585.91   Total Payments: $601.00.

This is compared to last month’s $30,918.16 debt total and the just pennies short of $1,000 in payments.  I’m still attempting to keep the budget in the most positive means possible.  After all, if it takes a few more months to find a job, I want to be sure I make enough money possible that I’m really not hurting my savings account as much.  However, I am pleased to see that I am $332.25 less in total debt than I was last month!  Huzzah!

Please let it rain!

DecMeadow


Goal Achievement Report – December 2012

Well, January is here and it’s time to see what all I accomplished in December! Holding myself accountable on these things have helped me make a lot of progress on myself and my life.  Thanks guys!  Please keep it up and I promise to do the same.  😉

Money Goals

  • Find a few ways for this Rainy Day blog to make some funds, however small it may be…
  • Sell unneeded items on ebay and amazon to make extra $.
  • To make enough money this month to pay either my car payment ($301), my auto insurance ($336), or both.
  • To make enough money to pay all my bills without hurting my savings account too much.
  • To find a job.

Alright, still looking into finding ways of this blog making me money.  If you have any ideas, please let me know.  Also, I am happy to say that I did indeed sell a bunch of items on amazon and ebay and ended up being in between ($436 in between) the car + auto insurance total with just this accomplishment!  Yay, me!  As for the rest of the bills, they were paid for with the unemployment that I ended up receiving and then some.

Still no luck on finding a job, but with unemployment coming in… I have some time to find one now and I don’t have to be too desperate.  It’s time to make me better and that’s exactly my intention.

Rainy Day Goals

  • To finish the cabinet revival.
  • Finish the Christmas tree.
  • Help my mother organize/clean the home.
  • Find alternative means for gifts for those on my gift list.
  • Get rid of unneeded items that can either not be sold or donated.
  • To continue organizing my room for optimal business format/personal use.

Cabinet revival and Christmas tree are finished thankfully!  I’ll have posts for you soon as it has been a pretty hectic month.  I’ve been cleaning and organizing the home with my mom (it can always use more work), but sadly my room has been neglected because of it and now needs a deep cleansing.  I usually end up spending about $300-400 in Christmas gifts each year, but I was able to scale that down to $100 and the people I gave gifts to were still just as happy!  Who knew?  When it came to the alternative gifts, it ended up becoming an alternative means to make money, and I’ll be sure to let you know when the time is right on just what I did with that too!

Personal Goals

  • Continue the MWF posts for Rainy Day.
  • Add artwork to various art sites and sell my artwork online.
  • Continue my art blog.
  • Refine my gamer blog/podcast and restart it.

I ended up only missing a couple of days this month on the MWF post schedule for Rainy Day.  That’s not bad!  Honestly, I took about a week off (Christmas-New Years) and only posted things that I already had in the wings to make up for it.  I’ve added artwork onto BigCartel, renewed my subscription to Deviantart (which I will be updating this month), and will be updating my artwork blog this coming week as well.  I have also restarted the gamer blog and a podcast is in the wings!

Overall, I would say MOST of my goals were accomplished, and I am most proud of myself!

Count those raindrops!

DecMeadow.


How to Make an Expense Sheet

Normally, the middle of the month will be dedicated to showing the progress I have made on my goals for the month.  However, because I am bound and determined to make a budget for myself, there’s a couple of key steps that I have to do first.  You might all be thinking it’s pretty simple to make a budget right?  You take the expenses and the income, and you pray that the income turns out be more than the expenses right?  Wrong.

In order to figure out a budget, I needed to see where exactly I was spending money and on what.  Perhaps if I know where my money is going, I will then know where to make cuts when I’m making my November budget.  So then the question was… how do I get started?

It’s called Excel 2010 and it is becoming my newest and best friend.

After using Google and Youtube to get more familiar with how to work Excel (until now I’ve only dabbled in it for random college courses), I started organizing my columns and then my receipts.  So before I go into how I’m using Excel’s formulas, here’s a snapshot of my own doctored Expense sheet.

As you can see, I have numbered down 1-31 for the days of the month.  I highlighted the Car Loan, Student Loans, and Credit Cards yellow because they are the most pressing things of the upcoming budget.  The blue are my necessities, and the really light orange-pink (salmon for you fellow artists out there), they are my random and fun expenses.  To the right, I once again repeated the titles of the columns.  This is because when I start using the Excel =SUM(….) formula, the total expenses will add up as I insert the receipts on a daily basis.

Okay, now here is where I use the =SUM(…) function.  Click on the box next to your first category, in this case it will be my Car Loan category on the right hand side.  Insert =Sum( and it will look like this:

At this point, Excel should be prompting you to finish you =SUM(..) formula.  Highlight the column that says Car loan and scroll down until you have highlighted every box in that column down to 31 (being the last day of the month).  When you have finished, the =SUM(…) formula will disappear and the total sum of the expenses in that column will show in that box.  Repeat for the rest of the columns.

If you would like the simple expense sheet that I have created for your own uses, access it here:  Monthly Expense Sheet

Now here’s the simple part: insert your receipts and expenses in the appropriate columns on the appropriate days.  If you need to add a comment to remember what that particular expense was, well, right click on the box and click add comment.  Add what you need and go onto the next receipt.

Don’t forget your income.  I have a separate column in my own expense sheet for that tracking.  The Total Expense and Total Income boxes will total on their own so that you can compare at the end of the month.

I’m not going to show you all the gory details of my personal expense sheet, as some of the comments I made to myself are personal, but I can give you a quick snapshot.

I hoped this helped for a few of you.  If you need a more detailed, step by step process, let me know in the comments!

Do you use a program or device to help you track your expenses?  Do you go old school?  Share your experiences, and don’t forget to follow this blog.

Count those raindrops!

DecMeadow.


Reality Check – Living with the Parents

Soo… You all might be wondering after I posted that Breakdown of my bills this month, what the housing situation might be in my life.  To be truthful, I’m going the cheapest you can when you’re a recent college grad…. I live at home with my mother.

Yes, I know I can already hear the groans, sighs, and maybe even the eye rolls out there.  You’re all now thinking, man… this girl isn’t legit.  She doesn’t know the true horrors of trying to make it.  She lives with her parents.  What a crock right?

Well, I can tell you it isn’t a crock.  I call something like this hurdle; this bump in the road, a reality check.  And my reality check is this:  I have so much debt (32k remember?) that I have to live at home with my parents in order to be able to tread water.  If I didn’t live with my mother, I would be further in debt.  I would have so much stress of trying to pay off all of my bills every month that I would have no choice but to move out of an apartment anyway.  So, yes… I will make the sacrifice of not having my own place for a couple of years in order to gain some buoyancy back and be able float above water when my debts are lower or gone.

You might all be grumbling about how you wouldn’t be able to live with the parents again right now.  Yes, it can be a bit stressful at times, what parent child bond isn’t?  And yet, it’s not really sacrifice in my opinion.  I love my mother.  I can consider her a best friend of mine and a true confidant.  We honestly don’t fight much and enjoy each others’ company.  She understands my situation, and I help out around the house when I can (i.e. I just bought toiletries for myself, brother, and the rest of the family a couple of weeks back).  Don’t laugh.  I’m not taking advantage, nor am I living a hard life.  It’s a life choice that a lot of families are having to consider now with the economic turn.  I know of quite a few, and you read the stories all the time of families moving in together in order to save money and have only one set of utility bills, housing payment, etc.. in order to get out of debt.

It’s going to end up being a tight budget here in the coming year as I crack down and try to pay off as much debt as possible.  My job pays very little a month to make it on my own even before the debts.  I would rather not be evicted for not being able to pay to be honest.  And I am sure, as most mothers are wont to do… would rather have me here at her home instead of getting a phone call nearly every month that I can’t make rent and is it possible to get a few hundred to take care of the problem.  I don’t want to borrow money from my mother, she has it rough as it is being a single parent.  I return what I can through landscaping (one of many past jobs during college… I’ll tell you about it some day), household chores, and the buying household needed items like toiletries, laundry detergent, food, etc.. when I can.

Are you facing a reality check?  Living with the parents in order to save money?  I’d love to hear your feedback!

Count those raindrops!

DecMeadow.