A Factory Working, College Grad Getting Out of Debt

Posts tagged “money

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 🙂


December 2012 Bills Breakdown

Alright, it’s bill payment time again.  These totals are as of December 1st, 2012.  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: $4,031.46. 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: $2604.85  Minimum payment: $0. This month’s payment will be $25.85.
  • Chase: $1354.07  Minimum payment: $36.00.  This month’s payment will be $36.07.
  • Pay Pal Bill Me Later: $1907.11  Minimum payment: $51.00. This month’s payment will be $51.11
  • Best Buy Store Card: $22.38  Minimum payment: $0. This month’s payment will be $0.
  • Amazon Store Card: $821.01  Minimum payment: $25.00. This month’s payment will be $41.01.
  • DressBarn Store Card: $429.19  Minimum payment: $25.00.This month’s payment will be $25.19.
  • Capital One:  $-25.80  Minimum payment: $0.  This month’s payment will be $0.
  • Best Buy Mastercard: $261.15  Minimum payment: $15.00.This is the card that I have decided to bite this month, so this month’s payment will be $61.15

Total Credit Debt: $7,373.96   Total Payments: 240.38.

This is compared to last month’s credit debt of $7,373.31  and total payments of:  $362.83, which means my debt went up 62 cents!  Crap!  Now, I have admittedly used my PayPal Bill Me Later account this past month for a couple of purchases (which is the reason you’ll see it’s actually larger than last month’s) but I have accounted for it in my budget, so no worries there.  Also, as I told you last Wednesday, I transferred the balances of my Capital One, Best Buy Store Card and a huge chunk of my Chase credit card to the new Solidarity Visa.  There were some fees in doing that, ($75.86 to be exact), so I anticipated this slight plateau in my journey to become debt free.  Also, because I’m unemployed as I write this, I am certainly glad that I made that decision a month ago to do the balance transfer!  Now nearly half my debt will not be gaining interest, and I can pay just the minimum balance and still be knocking it out at the same time!

Depending on how I do employment wise, these might change a bit during the month, and if so, I’ll be sure to update you.  I’d like to add the extra $120 that I usually have going to bills out this month to the Best Buy cards, but at this point, I have to find cuts where I can in order to be sure the January and February bills are paid before a tax return comes around.

Student Loans:

ECSI: $650.00  Still in grace period.  

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

For the month of December I am going to be allowing this grace period to do its job again.  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.

Other anticipated bills this month:

Automotive Insurance: $336.11

Complete Total Debt: $30,918.16   Total Payments: $663.83 + Auto Insurance = 999.94

Holy crap!  Nearly, okay that’s too close for comfort… $1000 for payments this month with no job income to be seen!  I need to find a job and quick!

Please let it rain!

DecMeadow


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.


The B’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 second 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.

Babies – These little rugrats can be true money pits!  The clothing, the food, the stinky diapers all cost moo-lah!  Beware of these little guys because they end up causing more trouble than they are worth!  My advice is to NOT HAVE CHILDREN!  THE LITTLE MONSTERS WILL EAT YOU OUT OF HOUSE AND HOME! Actually, just be very frugal.  This is where coupons and sales can truly help you on your journey’s addition of a child.  They say that kids can cost nearly $400k to raise over the course of a 20 year span.  I say that they are silly and have no idea what they’re talking about… but be on high alert for those deals and coupons that come in the paper when you have one!  Saving on disposable diapers, socks, etc… can all really help down the road!  And if you’re having a moment with freaking out about college loans… well, how about this, for every coupon you clip, put those pennies in a jar or a piggy bank for the kid.  When the year ends, cash it in and make it into dollars and put it in the college fund as a little boost!  Kids are cute and very good at getting toys and various other items, but stay strong! 😉

Best Buy (& Other Electronic Stores) – These guys can be very evil in their ways.  Prices can be incredibly high, the DVD and Blu-ray discs have a lack of variety, and the quality?  Well…. Just be very careful here.  Do your research! You want to make sure that you get the best deal, and sometimes that means it will be from online; especially if it’s a computer part.  Try looking at sites like Newegg.com and TigerDirect.com.  They certainly have better deals and far more choices for you.

Baked Goods – These things are EXPENSIVE if you’re not making your own.  And if you don’t believe me, go to a Starbucks and buy a brownie.  I could probably make a whole plate of brownies for the price of one brownie from that place.  Buying packaged baked goods can be expensive too.  The only advice I have for you on this one is whether or not you want to spend the time making baked goods or the convenience of already made.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when the pre-baked goods from grocery stores and various other places have saved many a school-related activity (but that’s usually because one of us forgot to mention it til the last minute).

Bugs  These crazy things are horrible for not only your house, health, and family, but also your wallet.  Remember, if you see one of these guys in your home, there is a guarantee that there are hundreds ready in the dark recesses to replace it.  Hiring an exterminator may very well be the best option (especially for certain types of pests), but did you know that if you put some ground cinnamon in the areas that you believe ants are dwelling that it will drive them away?  If you’re having problems with ants in the garden, try catnip.  It is a great deterent for the baddies and an attractant for the good bugs.  Eating garlic can help keep summer pests like ticks and mosquitos away if you’re a fan of the herb.  Just be careful of what you sign up for when it comes to extermination… if you feel that what they are doing will kill not only the bugs, but harm you, your family, and your pets, try and find an alternative and leave the expensive fumagation as a last resort.

Black Friday Deals – Since this has already gone and went, I’m sure we’re all grumbling about whether or not this year’s deals were truly worth it.  Honestly, I wasn’t all too happy with stores like Walmart, Toys R Us, Target, and Kmart opening their doors on Thanksgiving day.  It might be retail, but I do not appreciate being told I have to work on a holiday when I used to be guaranteed it off.. or at least an easy, boring shift because everyone in the country was eating at home with their families.  Anyway, Black Friday is a day where deals are supposedly to be had.  In truth, for the last few years the deals are far and few between.  I honestly haven’t found something relevant enough for me to go out in the middle of the night and stand in line and wait for the hours of operation to get a gift for somebody.  I feel the stores are just trying to get you there to lure you in with one item and then have other items that you need at a discount so you buy them at that store too.  Again, that lure has been elusive and I recommend you do heavy investigations on items you’re looking for before you also take the bait.

 

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