A Factory Working, College Grad Getting Out of Debt

Posts tagged “debt

A Raindrop – Student Loans Successfully Deferred!

This cartoon pretty much describes how much I feel like a low-life sometimes because I still live at home and this debt.  I know I’m paying it off, and I know that I’m doing my best, but sometimes I feel like I’m just not doing enough.  I also feel overwhelmed by the idea of my student loans and how some of them are gaining interest and just getting me in debt even further no matter how much I’m working on the rest of my debt.  *THUD*

If you’re unfamiliar with that sound, it’s the millions of college students hitting their heads on their tables/desks/counters after looking at their student loans coming into the mail.

Perhaps the only thing that I can happily say today about my student loans is that I’m attacking the smallest one first AND I was able to successfully defer my other because I can show proof that I’m unemployed.  It only took about 30 minutes of hunting around on the loan site to figure out what exactly I need to do, but then my request was sent and the nail biting began after that… Until I finally got a letter accepting my request.  I have until August to get rid of the rest of my debt as much as possible.  Hopefully I’ll have a job by then.  If I don’t, I can defer it again for another six months.  And depending on where I am in my debt during THAT deferment, I might be able to start attacking that other loan too!  But we shall see.

Huzzah for deferment, BOO for interest on un-subsidized loans.

Count those Raindrops!

-DecMeadow

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March 2013 Bills Breakdown

Another month of bills, yay.  Last month I continued my path in keeping my budget low and was quite successful.  In fact, I only spent $54.06 on me during the month of February, with is another $43 below what I spent in the month of January.  The reason for this is the use of my gift cards this past month.  With the gift cards I was able to have a nice “Valentine’s Day” date and upgrade my computer.  Another big chunk was subtracted from my monthly budget because my monthly prescription is finally free.  That was an extra $15 back in my pocket!

It’s all well an good, because March is not going to be cheap.  I have a bridesmaid’s dress to buy, and hopefully with a little help of their current free shipping code as well as the code my bride has given me, I’ll be able to buy everything I need for under $150.  Seems legit.  Any who, onward to the bills!

Car loan: $3,223.27. Unfortunately this guy’s principle is going to have be shaved to a bare minimum of $10.  Money has been decent this past month with quite of few items being sold on Amazon and Ebay for me, but because I have a big purchase (i.e. bridesmaid dress), I’ll be keeping every bill low again this month in order to budget correctly.  Sucks.. but the payment is going to stay at $261.00.

Credit Cards: So I’ve said goodbye to two credit cards since I started this, and I also recently found another grey charge and cancelled it from one of my credit cards.  I’m hoping I’ll see reflected in the statement next month, but I’m sure it was a little two late when I cancelled for it to be shaved off the bill this month.  Either way, I’m happy I saw it.

  • Solidarity Visa: $2519.00  Minimum payment: $30.00. This month’s payment will be $30.00.
  • Chase: $1330.05  Minimum payment: $28.00.  This month’s payment will be $28.05.
  • Pay Pal Bill Me Later: $1843.98 Minimum payment: $55.00. This month’s payment will be $55.00. 
  • Amazon Store Card: $792.59  Minimum payment: $25.00. This month’s payment will be $37.59.
  • DressBarn Store Card: $406.45  Minimum payment: $25.00.This month’s payment will be $26.45.
  • Best Buy Mastercard: $144.30  Minimum payment: $15.00.This is still the card that I have been working on eliminating, so this month’s payment will be $60.30.

Total Credit Debt: $7,036.37   Total Payments: $237.39.

This is compared to last month’s credit debt of $7,178.15  and total payments of:  $241.99, which means my debt went down $141.78!  Yay!  PLUS, depending on how things go, I Should be able to pay off the rest of the Best Buy Mastercard next month! If not, it will be a measly payment and will still allow me to be able to start paying more on the Dressbarn card in May.  I’m totally stoked!  Now my total payments this month is a little low, but because of the extra expense and my anticipated payment for my smallest student loan, I being conservative for a bit longer.

Student Loans:

ECSI: $650.00  Still in grace period.  However, I am going to be putting a payment of $50 on it.  With the fees, that will equal $51.95.

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:

A bridesmaid dress = $175 approximately.  I’m scared to make such a huge purchase right now.

Complete Total Debt: $29,772. 38 Total Payments: $550.34

This is compared to last month’s $30,158.60 debt total and $601 in payments.  That means in total I have decreased my overall debt by $386.22!  I’m stoked!  Being unemployed has been very frustrating, but I’m excited to see that my focus on spending practically nothing has helped so much in reducing my debt!  The extra money not spent on bills this month will go to the dress.  And regular payments again next month!

Please let it rain!

DecMeadow


February 2013 Bills Breakdown

Well, it’s that time of the month again.  Time for the bills breakdown.  As you know I was able to cut my budget down to a measly $100 for the month.  Unfortunately, that still didn’t help my output vs. input.  In fact, I still had $130 output over my input.  And you guessed it, my savings account was hit because of it.  In lieu of that, I’m planning on trying cut a few other things back in order to make ends meet this month.  And we’re starting with the bills, as in I’m going to be a little more fiscally conservative with what goes to what this month.

Car loan: $3,467.71. Unfortunately this guy’s principle is going to have be shaved to a bare minimum of $10.  Sadly, I never would have done this unless I absolutely had to make sure that I could survive on $100 in a month, and the only way to do so is to shave some of the extra here to take care of the tiny budget for the rest of the month there.   Sucks.. but this month’s payment will be $261.00.

Credit Cards: Last month, I finished off TWO credit cards! (GO ME!) So in true “snowball” fashion, I’m continuing to do that.  However with the unemployment status and the  fact that I noticed that even with cutting my budget down to only $100 or less (not including the bills obviously), I was still outputting an extra $132 last month more than I was inputting on unemployment.  So instead of adding that additional money that I technically gained from losing the two cards into other cards, I’m going to try to keep my budget

  • Solidarity Visa: $2549.00  Minimum payment: $30.00. This month’s payment will be $30.00.
  • Chase: $1335.01  Minimum payment: $28.00.  This month’s payment will be $28.01.
  • Pay Pal Bill Me Later: $1866.16 Minimum payment: $53.00. This month’s payment will be $53.00. 
  • Amazon Store Card: $801.84  Minimum payment: $25.00. This month’s payment will be $41.84.
  • DressBarn Store Card: $446.97  Minimum payment: $48.00.This month’s payment will be $48.97.
  • Best Buy Mastercard: $179.17  Minimum payment: $15.00.This is still the card that I have been working on eliminating, so this month’s payment will be $40.17.

Total Credit Debt: $7,178.15   Total Payments: $241.99.

This is compared to last month’s credit debt of $7,323.49  and total payments of:  $300.00, which means my debt went down $145.34!  Yay!  Honestly, I’m totally excited that I only have to account for six credit card payments instead of eight.  That, perhaps, is the biggest accomplishment of all to me right now.  I’m kind of hoping that with my upcoming tax return that I will be able to get those two little ones out the way here soon if I have enough after I put away some for June’s car insurance payment.

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:

A bridesmaid dress = $175 approximately.  I’m scared to make such a huge purchase right now.

Complete Total Debt: $30,158.60   Total Payments: $601.00.

This is compared to last month’s $30,585.91 debt total and $601 in payments.  That means in total I have decreased my overall debt by $427.31!  I’m stoked!  Being unemployed has been very frustrating, but I’m excited to see that my focus on spending practically nothing has helped so much in reducing my debt!

Please let it rain!

DecMeadow


The D’s that Keep You Broke & How to Beat Them

Every month I’ll share a few little things that can cause you lose to money and some possible solutions that can be implemented to avoid them.  Here’s the fourth installment of the series! Again, as I said before, my disclaimer on this little series will have both educational benefit and comedic relief.  Some of the items I choose will honestly be all in good fun.

Dogs – These beasts have a way of getting not into your heart, but into your sock drawer as well.  In my case, underwear drawer. I currently have a dog that is so obsessed with that area of a person’s anatomy, that she will eat it if she gets the chance.  Believe me, I just lost two pairs of jeans somehow because of that little houdini dog, and man was I livid. Crazy enough, she only becomes obsessed with the clothing.. not the body part.  Anyway, dogs aren’t just fun to have, they’re expensive.  All of those items you just bought: food, toys, cage, leash, collar = $$$ And that’s not even including the cost of the dog, be it you bought it in a pet store or adopted it from the humane society.  My biggest advice on this is to know your limits. If you can’t commit to making sure that the dog isn’t going chew your favorite pair of sneakers, well you might not be ready for a dog. Try a plant first.  If you can keep that alive for six months, you’re on the right track to keeping something more… adorable alive.

Debt – This sucker is what a lot of us suffer from on a daily basis.  I wish there was a control button at a computer server warehouse that just made everyone’s debt go away.  That would be fantastic wouldn’t it?  I mean seriously, debt is not only a financial burden, but it has that sneaky way of causing emotional, mental, and sometimes even physical problems too!  Advice on the matter?  Well… try and chip it away a little at a time.  If you’re swimming in it, like truly drowning, consider bankruptcy. This isn’t a quick fix however, and the idea shouldn’t be taken lightly.  It will cost money, and it is a HUGE decision, as it affects your credit for years to come. And please… don’t be one of those people who file for bankruptcy three times in a matter of a decade just because it’s the “easy way out.”

Deer – It’s that time of year!  Who am I kidding, it’s always that time of year around here where I live.  Deer are abundant and they make a whooole lot of damage to that beautiful car or truck that you might just have purchased. Shame of it all, I think they’re quite graceful looking creatures, but even I find it infuriating when one of these guys are on the road, in front of me, while it’s snowing, sleeting and a big ol’ mac semi-truck is behind me and another is coming at me from the opposite lane.  Oh.. that doesn’t happen to you?  It hasn’t to me either… knock on wood.

Drugs – Let’s say this is one a double-edge sword.  Not only do you have the addictive habit of illegal drugs (perhaps even legal), but you also have those drugs that are considered maintenance drugs.  You might know them.. they’re the ones that our parents/grandparents take in order to survive the day.  A biggie is blood pressure.  These little suckers just won’t go away, and I wish they would.  I wish we weren’t in a society that needed a pill to fix things.  Actually, you know what.. why not?  Surely the side-effects (INCLUDING DEATH) couldn’t be ALL that BAD?!  Am I right?   As for the advice… the only consistent thing that I’ve heard doctors say is to get in shape.  Whether you have diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol… whatever.  Start eating healthier and get some exercise in every week!

Death – Grim Reaper is a greedy little bugger.  Not only does he want to take you away, but he makes sure it costs a pretty penny too.  Funerals and memorial services are downright expensive.. like down payment on a house expensive.  This type of expense is usually seen being put upon the children the of the recently deceased.  Not only that, but then there is also the unpaid debts or medical bills that the person may have that are now the descendants’ responsibility too.  I’m telling yah.. it sucks to be a kid.  A Toys R Us kid.  My advice for this one is simple: try to have as many of these expenses taken care of ahead of schedule.  There is nothing wrong with having your affairs in order.  If you have a specific way that you want your service to be done, then make it so.  If you want cremation instead of a big ol’ box, then make sure that’s known.  But don’t be greedy and make your children pay for it if at all possible.  Try and relieve them of the burden.  Seriously, they’re already mourning and going through enough.

Oh, and since it’s the letter D this month.. perhaps you all could assist me.  I am taking donations to eliminate my debt for this one second only.  Feel free to send the check in the mail!  No… really 😉

Actually, I’m joking.

Count those Raindrops!

-DecMeadow


How to Make a Quarterly Debt/Expense Report in Excel

Alright, I told you on Friday that I would be showing you how I made a quarterly report in excel.  This quarterly report allows me to compare the three months in the quarter side by side and then see the overall difference of debt from the beginning of the quarter to the end of the quarter.  You might be wondering why would I want such a thing and why would I want to subject myself to additional work, after all we created an expense sheet, that should be enough right?

Wrong.

With the expense sheet, I am only focusing on a single month.  When I am in that month, I totally agree that is what I should be doing, however, I do want to see what progress I have made.  These quarterly reports are exactly what I need as a means of encouragement.  It also helps me see the full progress of my elimination of debt, whereas only the expense sheet shows for what and where I spent my money.  Now don’t get me wrong, the expense sheet is still a necessity, and it becomes an easy way to create this is to use your Expense sheet that we created awhile ago.

First of all, you want to make sure that you have a complete list of the items that you will be recording.  This includes every single piece of your debt. Your automobile(s), credit card(s), student loan(s), as well as the other expenses.  Now you can make this as detailed as you want, but I broke it down into the simplest of categories: Auto, Credit, & Student Loan.  I then would see how much Total Debt and Total Payments I had for that month before I even touched the other expenses.  From there I wanted to also compare how much in other expenses (i.e. gasoline, medical, etc..) I had spent.  Then it was Total Expenses, Total Income, and the hopeful Leftovers that would be in my savings and/or checking account.

  1. In Column A, you will be listing the major categories.  So Debt would be the header, then Auto, Credit, Student Loan, Total Debt, Total Payments, Other Expenses, Total Expenses, Total Income, & Leftovers (Savings).
  2. Column B will be the specifics.  This is where I broke the categories down further.  For example, I was specific in my Auto make and model, as there may come a time where there are two cars for the family in the future.  I also listed each credit card, student loan, various expenses.. etc..
  3. If you want to tidy this up like I did, I made my titles bold and merged the titles A Column with the B Column.  Since there would be no information placed in the title cells, it just allowed me to shorten the width of the A column and not waste so much space.
  4. Next, widen your three columns the width that you wish them to be.  I ended up making them three columns wide as I like having all that space and I’m a bit OCD when it comes to aesthetics.  Because of this, I even added very thin columns in between B & C, C & D, and D & E and dyed the background of them a bright orange just to make the comparison factor that much more evident.

At this point, your excel sheet should look something like this:

Quarterly Report Sheet

  1. Put in your numbers, leaving Total Debt and Leftovers (Savings) blank.  The rest, you can easily grab from your expense sheet (even the Total Expenses and Total Income as we already had those off to the right of the previous sheet we created).
  2. For Total Debt, highlight the box and insert =sum(  and then highlight the cells above it from auto down to the last student loan.  Press enter and your total debt should now be calculated.  Follow this method for each month.
  3. For Leftovers (Savings), all you have to do is click the corresponding box, insert = Column Letter Total Income – Total Expenses.  In this case, it would be =D28 – D27.  Repeat for the other months.

Alright, now you might be wondering what exactly are those colorful boxes to the very right.  Well, much like I did in the expense sheet, I wanted to see the total debt that I had eliminated, my total income for the quarter, total expenses for the quarter, and finally, the total savings that I hopefully have somewhere in between my checking and savings accounts.  These are pretty simple to create as well.

  1. Again, I made things pretty.  I like to see my final numbers in a bigger font, so I merged two rows and five columns together for each category.  I also filled the background of these merged cells with color to make it pop better.  Red = debt, light green = income, blue = expense, and a darker green = savings.  Seemed appropriate for me, but if that doesn’t work for you… well you obviously don’t have to be as picky as me.
  2. For the change of debt section, this is easy.  You insert = 1st month’s Total Debt – 3rd month’s Total Debt.  This will show you how much you have eliminated over the course of the quarter.
  3. Total Income is just the sum of the three month’s incomes so =SUM(D,F,&H Total Income).  In this case =SUM(D27+F27+H27).
  4. Total Expenses is the same as Total Income, only you use the cells labelled for the total expenses of each month.
  5. Finally, you do the summation formula one more time and add up the total leftovers (savings) for the quarter.

Like I said, real simple.  I’m sure there is also a simpler way to put in expenses from the expense sheet in just a simple formula, but I’m not that great at importing from one completely different book to the other.  Besides, it also allows me to refresh and reflect on just what I did over that month, so I’m not complaining much.

At the end of the year’s 4th quarter for 2013, I will be adding a block to see the comparison of debt, income, expenses, and leftovers from 2012, and 2013.  This will allow me to further see my overall progress on a broader scale.

Hope this inspires you to organize your expenses and debt elimination just a little bit more!

Count those Raindrops!

-DecMeadow


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


Approaching a Milestone with a Possible Budget

Well, my man and I are approaching our two year anniversary on Sunday and it’s pretty clear the bond isn’t going to break.  We’re stuck with each other, and love it.  With kids today getting married young and even my own peers are starting to say the “I Do’s” to each other (I think I know of three weddings just this month of fellow compatriots?) people are wondering: When are we going to tie the knot?

And the answer to that is: not anytime soon.   My guy is still in college and will be graduating this May.  When we first talked about futurey things, we definitely agreed that both of us would be graduated before the question was ever asked.  And after he graduates?  Well, I want to work on some of this debt first.  I’m doing a pretty smashing job so far in my opinion honestly, and I’d like to see it continue that way for some time to come.

We did set out a budget for the nuptials whenever they occur however.  He and I are very picky, and aren’t into following all the shenanigans of wedding necessities that for some reason the industry insists one must have to have a “successful wedding.”  To be honest, if he and I went to a Justice of the Peace, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.  Don’t get me wrong, looking at wedding things is certainly a past time of mine, but there is so much of the frill and the tulle that I can live without thank you very much.  Instead, I’d rather do things my way.  And that includes a budget.

A couple of months back when I started this blog, my guy and I sat down and truly discussed this possible wedding budget and if it were doable or not.  We think it certainly is, and are willing to cut the frill and satin out to get there.  What’s the magical number you might ask?  Well… $6000 for the wedding.  $4000 or less on the honeymoon (the part where we can honestly want to splurge).

I know there are so many people out there who want all that extra to make their very special day very special, and I don’t mind it.  It’s your day.  Do what makes you happy.   And for me, having a down payment on some property and possible blueprints for a home are my main concern truth be told.  So that means we’ll be living with our parents for a little while longer as I work down the debt and he works on saving and we both work on finding decent careers.

The Breakdown:

Photographer: $2000  This is the part where I refuse to budge on quality. I want photos of my day clear and artistic with a whimsical feel in spots and serious and gorgeous in others.  Finding that special photographer means being willing to pay for it.

Food: $325  We’re definitely going cheap, and he and I are already thinking something really simple and fun for this.

Cake: $150 Why do you need layers to a cake?  Seriously… a sheet cake does the trick in feeding all those hungry mouths.  A simple two tier is all you need for the pictures and the 1 year anniversary luck.

Venue/Preacher: $300  We already know a few places that we can reserve for under $100 total.  We’re stoked and ready.

Tuxes: $500  Rentals of course, but my guy also insists on helping his groomsmen and my man of honor (yes? you read that right… what of it?) with supplementing their budgets so that they’re not breaking the bank either.  It’s expensive to be a part of your best friend’s wedding!

Dress: $550  My guy scribbled this one down and I couldn’t help but be awed and love him more.  I was seriously considering writing down $250-300 for this and he just upped the game so I could have an awesome dress.  Love you so much for being so great!

Paper: $120  Save the Dates, Invitations, Thank You Notes…. SOOOO EASY TO ACCOMPLISH THIS I TELL YOU!

Decorations: $200  It’s going to get Crafty in that house of mine whenever the wedding is set.  Of course that will probably be years from now, but still.  DIY all the way.

Bouquet/Boutonnieres: $100  DIY can work here too ladies and gents, and that’s exactly what I plan on doing 😉

Wedding Rings: $1000  This is the other big spender.  My guy and I like expensive metal.  And we’re certainly wanting to splurge a bit on the most symbolic and memorable part of the ceremony.  I never said I had a cheap sense of taste my friends.

What number did you give for your wedding budget?  Did you do it for less?  Decide that certain things were more necessary than others?  Let me know!  I might have forgot something.

Count those raindrops!

DecMeadow.