A Factory Working, College Grad Getting Out of Debt

Posts tagged “motivation

Reality Check – Stagnation

I’m finding life a little hard to handle at the moment.  I’m not quite sure if it’s solely due to my prolonged unemployment status, but I’m pretty sure that has a hand in it.  I find that as I’m going through the motions, things just don’t feel the same.  I find myself doing chores around the house, being more aware of my mess and trying to keep things clean, but I blame that on muscle memory after these months of doing nothing but house chores.  Unfortunately, I don’t see myself doing much else.

My art has stagnated, and as such my commission list is suffering as I seem to have hit an artist block and just can’t quite make my layouts right.  This is making me angry, but only just, because it’s more of a “I need to get this done and sent to the buyer” than “you know this crap” kind of thing.

My reading has slowed.  In fact, its at a dead stop.  Perhaps I should consider renewing my library card and finding a few books that will interest me.  I would so love to jump back into my all-time favorite children’s mystery series of Encyclopedia Brown again now that I’m older and see if I can get the clues and know what happen before the reveal.  Yes, I reread books, and yes, I like young adult fiction.  Truly though, if you haven’t read that series, I implore you to do so.  Donald J. Sobol was a genius and I one day hope to get my kids to read his timeless stories.  It’s fitting, that I have this craving to read his series as it’s the one year anniversary of his death.

But I’m digressing… I feel like I haven’t done much, and I feel like I’m not going anywhere.  In truth, this isn’t just a physical matter, as I really haven’t done much and really haven’t gone anywhere in the past eight months.  For a girl who was living a lifestyle of 18 credit hours a semester, 40 hour work week… that’s crazy.  It’s like going 100 miles per hour and immediately slamming on the brakes, only to crawl to a slow and steady pace of 5 miles per hour.  I’m going nuts.

I know this has affected my writing in the last few weeks as well as the stagnation seems to cling to me as bad as this 90% humidity we’re currently having.  I sleep in because I know I have nothing to do that day, so why bother?  I take a nap after lunch because it makes time pass faster.

 

I truly cannot wait to start a job.  I really can’t.  I have always been that type of person that if I don’t have something to do constantly, I end up becoming a total bum.  I lose creativity, ingenuity, willpower.  I lose motivation faster than a leaky bucket, Eliza.  Seriously, let’s get this train a rolling, because I can’t take much more without screaming.

And perhaps that’s what I’m doing here… screaming.  Screaming to the world the frustration of the unemployed.  The frustration of a college grad who cannot find a job.  The frustration of being in debt and knowing that my emergency fund in dwindling.  Just sheer frustration and I’m afraid it’s going to become desperation and I’m just going to take any ol’ job and throw my self-worth out the window.

Ugh.

Count those Raindrops.

-DecMeadow


Move Your Ass Challenge UPDATE

Well, sadly I think I got my hopes up too high.  We’re already past mid-month mark, and I still have 82.3 miles to go.  Did I get it in my head that I could easy do this?  Perhaps, but I used to be able to do this kind of stuff no problem.  See, I was a softball player in my younger years and I remember doing nothing but running.. running… running.  I was never a fast runner, but sometimes I could definitely get my sprint on when I knew my bat connected with that gorgeous neon yellow ball just right.

I also have not been counting my normal walking miles.  Once the weather gets nice (been raining ALL week, I can’t even mow the lawn! ARGH!) I should be getting my groove on with walking, jogging, and running.  This month I was counting on getting those miles from biking though.  Sadly, I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it.  Unless of course I kick my butt in gear and start doing 7.5 miles or more every day for the rest of the month.

What do you think?  Should I still go for the 100 miles? Or should I get realistic and perhaps knock it down to 50?

 

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


Reality Check – Medical Leave

I told you guys before that my mother had knee surgery in November.  She’s been on medical leave ever since.

In December she went to the doctor and was told that she would not be able to go back as soon as she had hoped. She was honestly thinking that she would be back in her store a couple of days after Christmas, but here we are.  I’m glad she had some more time to heal and build back the strength in her knee.  Honestly, I’m afraid that she’ll blow the knee she just got fixed again as we wait for the next knee surgery to be scheduled.  She’s going to be on her feet 10-12 hours a day, and a lot of twisting and bending happens.  I think the doctor was a little worried too, so he extended her leave to January 10th, where she’ll be going back to see if she can be released and get back to work.

You see, the worry is still going to be there for another eleven months.  Why?  Because as stated by the company policy and the Federal Medical Leave Act, she is a necessary employee because she is a manager.  To insure that her job is secure and that she will not be replaced or moved to another store, my mother will have to wait until next November to get her other knee fixed.  This sucks, a lot.  The only reason she had her left knee operated upon in the first place was because she was favoring the right too much and ended up blowing out the left in an even shorter time than it took for her to injure the right.

But my mother is going to insist on getting back to work when she goes to the doctor tomorrow, even if he thinks she still needs some time and additional physical therapy.  I’m hoping he’ll release her but give her restrictions.

We’ve been able to get a lot of things done and have enjoyed our alone time together since she’s been home and I’ve been unemployed, but I’m really hoping that she gets cleared to go back to work tomorrow.  I think she is too.  That’s not to say that we’re getting on each others’ nerves now, but as soon it became January, she has only been receiving 60% of her weekly paycheck as per company policy.  I think the stress of that plus the drama that has been creeping into the store since her absence is taking its toll and my mother wants to get back to work, straighten things back, and once again get that extra 40% she’s been missing since the beginning of the year.  And that 40% most certainly adds up when the medical bills are piling up as well as the other bills are needed to be paid.

Count those Raindrops!

-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