A Factory Working, College Grad Getting Out of Debt

Posts tagged “finance

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

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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 Progress Report – Mid December 2012

Time to see what all I have accomplished thus far…

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.

Well, I’m still technically working on all of these still.  However, I have had some luck with ebay and amazon the last couple of weeks and it has been helping me pay for a part of my bills.  I’m not sure if we’ve reached the car payment mark yet, but it’s still a decent chunk!

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.

Cabinets and Christmas tree are finished!  So we’ve been cleaning and organizing the house when we can.  So far I’ve been focusing on the items that I can sell right now, but the next things on my list are donations and trash.  My room is still obviously the ongoing goal again…

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 would like to say that every single one of these has been done except my art blog!  I still have to update that, but everything else has been done.  YAY!

All of these goals still need lots of work, but I still have some time to get things done!

Count those raindrops!

DecMeadow.


A Raindrop – Amazon Marketplace HURRAY FOR THE CHRISTMAS SEASON!

All I can say is that I am loving the Christmas season right now!  My Amazon Marketplace (which you can access here) is exploding with orders!  Just in the last three weeks, I have sold 110+ items!  That’s awesome!

Now my shop is more of a service honestly.  I sell all sorts of media including dvds, blu-rays, video games, pc games, console games, college textbooks, regular books, games, stickers, toys, whatever I can honestly for people and myself.  When I sell for others, I take a 20% commission fee as I have bulked out my shipping supplies and can save SO much money for others.  Right now, we’re rocking on the video games, dvds, and blu-rays.  So many season box sets are in my inventory and I can’t seem to keep them in stock right now!

Certainly fine by me!  If you’re needing an item, go ahead and check out my shop (DecMeadow’s Shelves) and see if anything interests you or can be a great gift for one of your family members!  Right now this is the biggest source of income I have due to my unemployment status and the more the merrier!

Make sure that you also take a peek at my ebay site as well.  I am trying to downsize on my collections and earn some extra cash to help pay for my bills.  And let’s not forget my art site!

If you want to insure that the item is received by Christmas, the last day to send out is December 19th!  So don’t delay!

Count those Raindrops!

-DecMeadow

P.S. Thanks for all your help and interest guys!  I really appreciate it 🙂


A Raindrop – 0% APR for 12 Months

I made a decision in the month of October when the credit union that I have my auto loan sent me a letter.  It was a card for 0% APR for a 12 month period.  After looking at some of the interest rates of my other cards, I knew I had to do something that a lot of people consider drastic.  I accepted the card and began transferring some of my balances to it.

Now, a lot of you are probably thinking that I’m desperate.  You bet I am.  I am unemployed, I needed to stall, and I was just starting to feel like I was able to float in the water in which I jumped.  However, that was NOT the line of thought that I was having when I accepted this.  I saw that 0% interest for twelve months was a great idea for me.  It meant that I would be able to transfer two, perhaps three of my card balances THAT HAVE HUGE APR RATES to this new card and say sayonara to them.  And when the twelve months was over, the APR would only be 12%.

So that is exactly what I did.  I kissed my Best Buy Store card (27.9% APR) and my Capital One Credit Card (21.9% APR) goodbye and made sure it was final.

bye bye credit cards

Yup, they are bye bye.  (To be honest, that’s just a picture someone else took, I forgot to do the same when I cut mine up). While I was also transferring funds, I transferred about a third of my Chase card to this as well.  This was to make sure that wouldn’t just be making interest payments on the the Chase card, I could actually make a dent in that one too.  Needless to say, I know this might hurt the credit report right now, but it was probably the best choice and decision that I made.  Hindsight being 20/20, I did not know I would be without a job, but man am I glad I was thinking of the future for me even at the beginning of my get out of debt decision.

The only con:  My credit report might be hurt for this.  But honestly, I’m already so much in debt, missing a payment is more of a problem in my eyes, and being unemployed, that might have happened.  So it’s a minor blip.

The benefits: I have eliminated two high APR credit cards.  I have a more reliable source of credit (my credit union won’t be going anywhere), and I can now begin to knock out even more of my debt just by paying minimum monthly payments on it every month.  No interest made, just debt going away.  Now yes there were some fees for it, but those fees are minimal compared to the accrued interest that would be charged every month until these cards were gone.

All I can say is I’m happy with my decision and honestly think it was probably the most sound for me at this time.

Have you ever transferred a credit card balance to a new card?  How did that work for you?  Got any tips?

Count those raindrops!

DecMeadow.


November Bill Breakdown

Alright, it’s bill payment time.  These totals are as of November 2nd, 2012.  The budget is still in the works, but now I have a little more understanding of my finances and what leeway I have to get things working.  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: $4,302.77. 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, I’m only putting an additional $5 on the minimum balance and the oddball change (except the Amazon and Paypal Balances just because) and then putting a major chunk on one of the card balances to take a massive bite out of it.

  • Chase: $2,298.40  Minimum payment: $48.00.  This month’s payment will be $53.40.
  • Pay Pal Bill Me Later: $1,830.01  Minimum payment: $51.00. This month’s payment will be $66.53
  • Best Buy Store Card: $1,138.70  Minimum payment: $36.00. This month’s payment will be $41.70.
  • Amazon Store Card: $822.48  Minimum payment: $20.00. This month’s payment will be $39.48.
  • DressBarn Store Card: $450.08  Minimum payment: $25.00.This month’s payment will be $30.08.
  • Capital One:  $481.99  Minimum payment: $25.00 This month’s payment will be $30.99.
  • Best Buy Mastercard: $351.65  Minimum payment: $15.00.This is the card that I have decided to bite this month, so this month’s payment will be$100.65

Total Credit Debt: $7,373.31   Total Payments: 362.83

This is compared to last month’s credit debt of $7,660.84  and total payments of:  $390.84, which means that I have downed my credit card debt by $287.53!  Not bad, but considering that more than $100 of last months payments was interest, that just blows my mind.  Does anyone else hate credit card debt as much as I do right now after putting that into perspective???

Student Loans:

ECSI: $650.00  Still in grace period.  

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

For the months of November and December I am going to be allowing this grace period to do its job.  I have way too many big bills in the month of December to be saving for to worry about the student loans at the moment, so I won’t.  I will be kindly nodding my head in approval to grace I’ve been given and just deal with the inner voice that’s frustrated that I won’t be able to work on these until January.  There’s not much I can do when I have an additional approximate $400 that I have to pay out for car insurance next month though…

Other anticipated bills this month:

Automotive Winter Prep: This might mean new rotors for my brakes, but the bare minimum will be windshield wiper fluid, new wipers, some de-icer, and some sidewalk salt to start stockpiling for the much anticipated winter weather (especially since my mother will be having knee surgery this month… Making sure all ducks in a row is essential)!

Complete Total Debt: $31,188.82   Total Payments: $663.83.

Slowly starting to wittle things down.  Let’s see if this new plan of attack works!

Please let it rain!

DecMeadow


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

Hello again my readers!  I would like to introduce you to a new monthly post that I want to share with you.  I would like to call it “The ABC’s that Keep You Broke and How to Beat Them.”  Every month I’ll share five little things that can cause you lose to money and some possible solutions that can be implemented to avoid them.

I must tell you now that 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.

Hope you enjoy!

Added fees –  Be careful of these little babies.  I hear they pack a punch that isn’t expected.  Credit cards like to up-sell and add these fees through a ruse of your protection.  Payment protection, identity theft protection services, etc… Credit cards love to make you think that they are only thinking of you.   Credit card companies are not the only culprit however.  Your local bank could be trying to hide some extra fees that even you haven’t noticed.  Remember that little Bank of America fee that caused their customers to run in mass exodus?  Yeah.. watch out for those.  Shop around for a bank you can trust.  Credit unions can also be more beneficial and transparent as well.

Alcohol – Don’t drink and drive!  Better yet, don’t drink at all!  Ha… while that might actually make you a little richer in the pocket, an easier way to save is to buy your alcohol from the liquor stores or even grocery stores.  These type of stores are able to purchase a great amount of alcohol in bulk and thus get a lower price for it…which then passes as a cheaper price to you.  Stay away from the bars and restaurants.  Although you might like having a drink when you go out to socialize or eat, you really are paying for the convenience.  A bottled beer or wine cooler could cost you approximately $1 or so a bottle from a six pack whereas while you’re eating out it could be double, triple, even quadruple the amount of buying the bulk and taking it home.

Apple Products – Buy Samsung.  Well honestly, I’m a huge fan of the iPod, I don’t find that I need a new one every time they come out with a new generation.  Just for this purpose alone I refuse to buy the iPhone and any of its incarnations.  Plus, I like to look around for alternatives.  I don’t always need a new phone or electronic device.  Yes, they are certainly pretty, but do I need it?  Certainly not.

Application fees – For all you college kids out there, or perhaps you have someone nearing the college age, take note.  Those college applications do not come free.  Colleges and universities make thousands of dollars a year just through application fees.  A local college’s application fee could range from $30 to $50 a piece.  If you’re trying to get into some of those more expensive Ivy League colleges and universities… well, be ready to cough up a pretty penny.  However, colleges and universities do offer to waive these fees.  In Indiana, my home state, if you end up achieving as a 21st century scholar, your public university application fees are waived for example.

ATM fees – This is something that you definitely want to make sure that you’re keeping a close watch.  Banks have additional atm fees now.  Perhaps you didn’t use your card enough times in a month as a debit card or as credit… so that’s a fee.  If you go to another bank’s ATM, that’s a fee.  If you draw too many times in a month, that’s a fee.
Overall, be careful and read the fine print.

Count those raindrops!

DecMeadow.