Friday, December 30, 2011

The last working day of 2011...

Well, here we are, the last working day of 2011 and I'm feeling pretty good about my debt repayment plan and the progress I am planning for this new year. I've used my credit card a couple of times in the last few days, only because I'm close to being able to cash in my rewards for a statement credit and when I've used the card, I've immediately transferred money to pay off what I just charged and rounding up to the next $10.00 mark. For example, last night I was at the grocery store and I charged $39.32, so when I got home, I transferred $40.00 to make the payment on the card. I also used it for a $40 co-pay at the Dr. and then when I arrived at work, I made a $50 payment. If I don't have it in my checking account to make the payment, I can't use the credit card to make the purchase. After I'm able to cash in this reward, I'd like to convert to an all cash system for my day to day purchases. Does anyone else do this?

Happy New Year to you all. . .

Current debt: $243,256.26

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Working on the goals for 2012...

Well, as I said yesterday, a major goal for this next year for me is to get my debt under control and finally taken care of. My BF is also doing the same thing, so I think it will be great for he and I to have these similar goals that we can help cheer each other on with. He also needs to get his name off of the title to the house that he and his ex-wife had. She was awarded the house in the divorce and is also responsible for the debt associated with it, but we're having a heck of a time trying to get his name off of the deed. Does anyone know how to go about this? He wants to make sure he's not going to be responsible for any of the debt associated with it should she default on the mortgage. She's not in a position to refinance right now, so that's not an option, but it looks like he should be able to file something to get his name off of the property. I believe it's called a quit claim deed? Does anyone know? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

My other goals for the year are to bring my lunch to work more often so that I'm not eating out, which I rarely do, but I'd also like to make sure I'm eating a better lunch rather than just snacking my way through the day, not really paying much attention to the lack of nutrition in what I'm eating. And to cut back on the diet Coke and work on drinking more water.

What are your goals for 2012?

Current debt: $243,283.30 (ugh! going in the wrong direction!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oye! I totally overdid it at Christmas...

and now I'm having to face my debt head on! Ugh! OK, I can do this! I can get back on track and work at getting this back under control. Looks like it's going to be a mellow spending start to the year, but that's OK, I will be so happy when I've made progress by spring and can see the end of the tunnel that is currently my debt. The BF and I are both working on paying off debt and are both really supportive of each other and getting this under control. We want to do what we can to get our debts taken care of so that we can start our life "together" on the right financial footing. He currently has more debt than me, with the exception of my mortgage, but he's working a lot of OT right now and has vowed to put that all toward debt reduction. 2012 is going to be a great year for us, I can see it!

Current debt: $243,224.66 (yikes!!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Plugging away...

Why does it always seem like I am working on paying off debt?? Seems like I've been doing this for the past 10 years. Ugh! I'm fortunate enough that I've been employed consistently and never been unable to make a payment on time, but it seems like I just keep making decisions that continue to put me in debt. Ugh! I wish I had not purchased my condo back in 2007, but at the time, how was I to know that the housing market would crash so drastically?! Oh well, like I said, at least I have a job and am always able to make my payments on time, even pay a little more than what is due, it could be worse, and I know it is for many.

I'm starting to look at my Christmas shopping and what I want to get for the few people I shop for. I'm trying really hard to figure out something that is more meaningful and less expensive. My brother and I usually go in on something for our parents together and since they are able to buy themselves anything they want, I think I'll see if he wants to figure out something like a monthly family dinner where he and I do all the work.

My boyfriend and I have decided that we aren't going to buy each other gifts, we're just going to do something special together. We both have debt we are trying to pay off and I think it will be more fun to try to be frugal and figure out something together that will be more meaningful. We also really enjoy just spending the time together, so I think we'll play games, watch movies, cook together, stuff like that.

That just leaves my niece and nephew to figure out. They are 9 and 13 and shouldn't be that hard. ;) They tend to give MORE than enough ideas!!

Does anyone have any really great, inexpensive gift ideas for all ages? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Do you have any special traditions that you look forward to every holiday season?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm still here....

Hey there....I'm still here, honestly! I've been so busy that I'm not sure which end is up most days, but things are going alright. I've been working so much these past few months and putting a lot of overtime, which is great, but I've also been spending a lot of money, which is not great! A few weeks ago, I had to make a big decision; either put a large amount of money in to repairing my car or finally bite the bullet and get a new(er) one. I ended up trading mine in and got a 2008 Volvo XC90 that I just love! What I don't love is the fact that I now have a car payment....boo! I guess this is where the overtime will help out.

I've also started dating someone, something I swore I wouldn't do after my divorce, but this guy took me completely by surprise and so far so good. We're taking it slow and we'll see how things work out.

I've started on my holiday shopping and am making good headway with that and getting some really great deals along the way. I don't have much that I have to buy, so that makes it easy. Mostly I do a lot of baking and making candy and giving that as gifts. The trick is going to be finding the time to do that this year. I've been buying up lots of the supplies as they've been on sale and really trying to cut back on my other shopping; no new clothes for the past 2 months now and rarely eating out. I dropped my cable and got the Roku box, which I love. I don't watch much TV anyway so for me this has been great.

Other than that, I've just been doing the normal day to day stuff and getting by. I'm still trying to build my savings back up and get on paying the new car off along with the rest of my credit card debt. I guess it could be worse, right? I'm focusing on being positive and living a good life. What else can one do???

If I'm not around again before Thanksgiving, I hope you all have a wonderful one and remember the things we all have to be thankful for. Blessings to you all....

Monday, August 1, 2011

My, my how time flies...

I can hardly believe it's August already and we've finally started having some nice weather here in the Pacific Northwest!! Not much to report from here, just plugging along and working hard to get the debt paid down. I've finally put the credit card away completely and am living on cash only...I'm finding this is working well for me, I don't spend with cash near as easily as I do with plastic and I don't cringe each month when the bill comes now. Of course I'd still like to see it going down quicker, but at least it's not going up anymore. I just got a promotion at work and will be working a lot more and a lot harder, but I'm excited and ready for the challenge. I'll also be getting in quite a bit of overtime, so that will really help take care of the debt. And I know it won't be long before I'm going to need a new(er) car, so I'm trying to get the current debt paid off before I take on new debt. I've been keeping a low profile socially lately and taking advantage of the pool at my condo and checking out a ton of books at the library. I cut my cable off and bought a Roku player, I don't watch much TV anyway, so this is a great option for me and the added savings will go toward debt reduction as well. Other than that, not too much going on these days, just enjoying the lazy, hazy days of summer, hope you all are too!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A new hobby???

So, over the holiday weekend I watched all of the episodes of Extreme Couponing and I am hooked. I decided to try a little bit of it myself, but I'm not going to be a hoarder like a lot of these people are. I tend to use coupons anyway, but I don't always pay attention to what is on sale and matching the two up. Well, I went to Target the other day with coupons in hand and made a real effort to buy what I was looking for and needing and matching the coupons to sales. And you know what??? I did great!!! I ended up getting deodorant for $.22 and $.32!! Razors for $.19 and $.34!! Shaving cream FREE!!!!! I also got 10 canisters of baby formula for $.63 each that I donated to the food bank. I also got a bunch more things and next time I will take a picture of my treasures and the receipt to show you all. I'm not sure I can always do this well, but I'm going to try. Any excessive overages I can accumulate will go to the food bank. Does anyone else do extreme couponing? Any secrets? Hints? Share your successes with me please!! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

I sold the ring....

YAY!! I finally sold the diamond ring that was my wedding/engagement ring. I'm getting $4375 for it now, and when the jeweler sells it, I will get another $2000 which is more than I expected to get, so I'm happy! I sold it to a reputable jeweler that my family has dealt with for many years and am very comfortable with the offer they made me. I am going to pick up the check this afternoon from them and will be able to make a big dent in the debt later this week! Keep watching that ticker drop!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Change in the ticker...

I've decided that debt is debt and regardless of what it is for, it's the total of what I owe. I've redone the ticker at the top of the page to be all inclusive of my debt. This will include credit card debt, the loan from my parents and my mortgage debt. I think that if I see the BIG picture it will motivate me more to do what I can to continue working toward reducing this amount any way possible. That over $200,000 amount is awfully daunting...let's hope I can quickly get it under this number and continue to watch it decline. Realistically I know that I don't owe anymore now than I did this morning, but just seeing the grand total has given me a new outlook on it. The $11,000 in credit card debt was not pretty, but didn't bother me near as much as seeing the big number of all debt added together.

What tricks do you do to help keep yourself motivated?? Do they work??

Friday, May 6, 2011

May is looking up...

I'm starting to gain some momentum on the debt pay down and it's exciting. I made my loan payment to my parents last week and won't have to make another one until this same time next year, so that is nice. I can fully focus on paying down the credit card debt that is solely from the divorce. I've been really watching what I am spending on everything else and cutting back on everything possible so that I will have the money to pay down the credit card. I've also been taking some classes for work that they are paying for, but I'm gaining skills to make myself more valuable to the company, so hopefully that will result in a raise and/or promotion. Next month I will have been at my job 10 years, longer than any employee other than owners. I'll keep you all posted on how the debt is decreasing...keep watching the tickers at the top of the page.

Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there. Enjoy your special day!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Still chuggin' along....

Things are going smoothly and I'm not adding to my debt, but it still seems like it's only slowly going down. I wish for quicker progress, but I feel good that at least I'm not adding to it. I'm doing a pretty good job of watching my spending too, so that I have more to put toward the debt. Every bit helps...and I've been doing every survey opportunity that comes my way and that's paying off too. I'm really hoping to have this debt paid off by New Year's Eve so that I can start 2012 without this monkey on my back. I'm scrimping and saving every penny that I can to get this dead weight gone. I'll keep you all posted on how it's going, things are slow as I said, but steady. Hope you are all enjoying a nice spring, I sure wish the weather would improve here, I'm tired of all the rain. :(

Friday, April 1, 2011

2 steps forward, 1 step back is still progress....

but it sure slows it down. I have now received (2) checks from the ex each for $1,000, but I took my car in for minor routine service yesterday and came out with a new timing belt, all components to go with that and a new water pump!! $800! Crap! I know that it's still cheaper to maintain a car than it is to buy a new one, but when you are expecting a bill less than $100 and then find out it's $800, that kind of puts a kink in your day. I really shouldn't complain, I've had the car for 11 years and so far all I've had to do is replace the battery, front breaks and tires once. I'm sure it's been low on maintenance because I really don't drive much and I do take good care of it, so I just need to get over this little hiccup in my debt pay down plan, but darn it anyway!! My sister in law's birthday is today and we will be celebrating on Sunday. I have her present already for that and I know she's gonna love it. Even better, I didn't spend much on it. I picked out one of the items she wanted from Willow House and am making her some peanut brittle that she loves. Other than that, things have been relatively quiet around her. The first quarter of the year is over and while my debt total hasn't gone down as much as I had hoped, things are looking up that I will be making more progress soon. I finished the first quarter no further in debt than I started it even with some hefty expenses thrown in there, so I'm happy with that. I also brought in $2105.00 from survey income this first quarter!!! That definitely helped out with the car repair, Husky ticket renewal cost and the cost of my upper endoscopy. Let's hope I don't have any more large expenses this year and that the survey income continues to come in like this, along with more money from the ex. Happy April, no foolin'!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Y'all are NOT going to believe this...

So, things have been going along really smoothly and I'm liking my new strategy for paying off the debt. It's been a little difficult restraining myself from making extra payments when I see the money sitting in my checking account, but I know I need it right now for day to day expenses and for the big loan payment coming up next month to my parents. Anyway, about a week and a half ago the ex sent me an email saying that he wants to pay me back at least the amount I had to pay him as a settlement for the divorce, $3,000. Now that he's working again, and actually working quite a bit, he feels that he needs to pay that back to me in order to feel better about himself. I told him that he didn't need to, but any assistance would be appreciated. So, last Tuesday, I'm home sick with a horrible migraine, and what should appear in my mailbox but a check for $1,000 with a nice letter and a promise to send another one soon. I deposited it in to my account, but haven't yet done anything to spend the money, I figure it's best if I wait to make sure it clears the bank. :)

Other than that, not too much going on here, it was a nice quiet weekend where I stayed home most of it reading and relaxing. I did go to my volunteer shift at the food bank, but otherwise I was pretty much home enjoying the peace and quiet. Didn't spend a dime this weekend and that was really nice too. Hope you all had a great weekend as well...

HAPPY SPRING!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A strategy change...

So, I’ve been giving thought to the way that I have been paying my credit card and the way I’ve been spending. On 12/31/10 my credit card balance was at $12,750.00 and now today it is at $12,709.07, even though I’ve made payment totaling $2,219.68 so far this year. It’s frustrating to see that I’ve made that much in payments and the balance is less than $50 off of where it was at the start of the year. I started giving it more thought as to why this would be and it dawned on me that my spending hadn’t changed all that much and I needed to get that under control as well. So, this month I have made a smaller than usual payment toward the credit card and left more money in my checking account to meet the day to day expenses. I will use cash for these, which should make it “hurt” just a little bit more and make me more aware of where the money is going, resulting in my spending less. I’m working on putting myself in more of a frugal mindset and trying to work on spending less and saving more to put toward the debt. The next 2 months are going to be a little bit difficult as I have to make an annual loan payment to my parents at the end of April in the amount of $2,000, but I know I will have it and then I can focus more on getting on with paying down the credit card. Now the credit card has been put away and I am only spending money that I have available in my checking account or cash in my wallet, if it’s not there, I don’t have it to spend…

Monday, March 7, 2011

1 week in and not doing too well...

This is suppose to be my frugal year and March was going to be SUPER frugal. So far, it's a bust!! I'm working on getting that under control. I went out of town for the weekend, so of course I spent much more money than normal, but now that I'm back, I should be able to reign it in. I was starting to make my grocery list to stop on the way home today and then started thinking about what's in the cupboards at home and decided that I will see what I can do with what I have first before going shopping. If I'm really good, I should be able to make it all week without having to set foot in the store. I just need to be good about planning ahead and not changing my mind about what I want to eat. Food is my biggest budget buster category, but I'm working on getting this more under control. Here it is the 7th and I've not had a single "no spend" day yet this month. Very frustrating!!

I have a big loan payment ($2,000) coming up to my parents at the end of April and I have to make sure I have the money for it, so I've scaled back my credit card payments so that the money will be there when I need to pay them. I've also decided that I'm not using the credit card for ANYTHING else. So, I had to make a smaller than normal payment, still over the minimum, in order to get my spending under control and to have the cash necessary to meet my basic needs. I've always been the type to make really big payments and then pull out the card to pay for groceries and gas as needed. I'm trying to break this habit, so it will take some getting use to, but I think it's going to be good.

Other than that, not too much going on in these parts, I hope it's starting to look like spring in your neighborhood, I'm ready for it here!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Serious spending freeze in March...

OK, so I took inventory on what is in my cupboards and in my closet for March and I should be able to make it through the month on a VERY tight budget, I'm thinking that I will be able to go through a lot of the food that is in my cupboards and eat through what's there before having to buy more. I'm sure you must all think I'm crazy, but I'm really trying hard to get this darn debt paid off by the end of the year and I really want to make some significant progress in the next couple of months, so I'm really buckling down and tightening the belt. I have 2 $100 gift certificates for local restaurants that will net me plenty of food to help me get through the feeling of being deprived.

I have about a dozen books coming from the library and they will keep me entertained for the month of March along with several movies that I have on my DVR that I've been recording. As much as I'd love to go to a concert coming up, I'm going to pass this time around and use the savings to put toward this debt. As I said at the beginning of the year, this is my year of frugality and while I haven't been spending much, I also don't feel like I've been doing much to sacrifice in spending and if I make more of an effort, I think those efforts will be rewarded in seeing more progress being made to reduce the debt.

I'm going to live like a pauper for awhile and I'm OK with that. I just want this darn debt off my back so I can move forward with my life...that's all, same story as usual, but I'm looking forward to seeing some more progress. Wish you all a frugal day...

Monday, February 21, 2011

I threw a party this weekend...

A good friend of mine just became a Willow House representative and I've always loved their products, in case you aren't familiar, they use to be Southern Living at Home. Anyway, I had a party at my condo this weekend in the clubhouse. I made some appetizers and desserts, opened some wine and threw a little party. It was so fun to get together with my girlfriends and we sold a lot of stuff, this is good for my friend as she will have made quite a bit of money on Saturday night and good for me because I will get a lot of free product. There are a few things that I want for my condo, since I lost a lot in the divorce, it will be nice to replenish some things, but there are also a lot of great items that I can get to give as gifts to my family and friends. All at for free or at a deeply discounted price, I'm looking forward to seeing what my total credit will be when this is all done. My sister in law saw many things that she wanted, but couldn't get everything, so now I know what to order so I can give her that for her birthday! Yay!

The rest of the weekend was pretty mellow, Friday night I was home baking some desserts for Saturday night and Sunday I watched my niece and nephew for a bit and then went home to read a good book. All in all, not too much money spent this weekend! Hope you all had a fun, frugal weekend as well!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Still just plugging along...

Not much to report, except that it's the 15th day of the month, and I've only spent money 3 days so far this month. I'm still housesitting for my parents, so I'm saving a ton of money by not having to buy groceries and using less gas getting to and from work. Looks like it's still going to be a few days before I have to spend anything. It was nice not to have to deal with anything for Valentine's day for anyone either. My ex has decided that he thinks he still loves me and wants me back, no thank you! He already cost me enough money and I'm certainly not going down that road with him again. Looks like I might finally have a buyer for my wedding ring too. I should know more by the weekend, so I'll keep you all posted. If I do sell it, I'll be able to pay off over half of what my current debt is....YAY!! Trying not to get too excited yet, but it would be fantastic if it works out.

Sorry, kind of rambling here, just not too much going on....

Monday, February 7, 2011

Saving money, putting it toward reducing my debt...

So, I'm house sitting for my parents for the next 20 days and I realized this morning while looking at my budget, this will save me a bundle of money. My parents grocery shop as if they still have a houseful of kids, so there is PLENTY to eat, therefore I will not need to go grocery shopping for quite awhile. Yay! I'll be at their house using there electricity and saving on my energy bill at my place. Their house is closer to work than mine is, so shorter commute equals savings of gas. They also live much closer to my brother and his family and I usually drive out there at least once a week to go see them, so that'll be nice to save time and money. They have a big, beautiful, brand new house, so it's kind of like being on vacation too. :) Except for that part about having to get up and go to work every day. :( Oh well, I'll at least enjoy some serious savings while staying there.

Oh, and I sold 2 books on half.com that will net me about $70 which will go directly toward debt reduction as well. Yay!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Frugal, easy recipes that strech your budget...

I cook a lot at home and rarely eat out, I bring my lunch to work every day and really enjoy a good home cooked meal. Here are a few of my favorite recipes that are easy to make and feed a lot for little money.

Taco Soup
2 lb. ground beef, turkey, chicken (whichever you prefer)
2 cups chopped onion

Brown the hamburger and onion until cooked throughly. Add to crock pot or soup pot.

Dump the following in, do NOT drain the cans...

1 can tomatoes with chiles
1 can chili tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can diced chiles
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch mix
1 can sliced black olives

Heat thoroughly and serve with tortilla chips, shredded cheese and sour cream. Enjoy!


Corn Chowder

4 slices of bacon; browned
1 cup onions
1 cup celery
1 cup grated carrots
4 cups diced potatoes
2 cups water

Boil until almost done and add...
2 15 oz. cans creamed corn
1 8 oz. canned milk
2 T chicken bouillon

Heat through completely . So good!!!

These are 2 of my all time favorites soups and I never tire of them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter blahs....

I seem to have the winter blahs right now. It's cold and grey and rainy, what do I expect, I live in Seattle! Oh well, we had a day or 2 this week that were brighter than normal, but today it's back to grey. Last weekend I painted an accent wall in my bedroom and it came out really great. This weekend I am planning on painting my bedroom. This isn't as inexpensive a project as I had hoped it would be, but it's also making a big difference in my place without shelling out a lot of money, so I guess I should be happy. I've lived in my condo for 4 years now and hadn't painted anything until last week. My Grandma gave me a Visa gift card for Christmas for the purpose of painting and I'm happy to say that the gift card helped out a lot on the last purchase. I'm also able to use the remaining half gallon of paint in the bathroom, so I will only have to go buy the top coat that will go over this. The bathroom paint is going to have a metallic finish to it and I'm really excited to see what it's going to look like. Next up is going to be the wall in my living room that my fireplace is on. After that, I think I'll hold off on painting anything else for awhile. I need to get some living room furniture, so that will be the next major purchase after the divorce debt is paid off.

I'm kind of enjoying the simple life right now and not spending much money. So far this month I have only spent $32.46 on groceries and I've been cooking a lot more than normal. I haven't eaten out in a restaurant at all, huge savings there and I have no new clothes. The next few months have a couple of big expenditures, so I will do my best to keep the spending in control so that I won't be adding to my debt. Usually in February I have my college football season ticket renewal and I always get 2 tickets along with my brother who buys 4 for his family. This year I told him I am only going to get 1 for me, I'm not going to buy the 2nd one as I just don't have the money for it and it'll be nice to not have to scurry around trying to find someone who wants to go or being disappointed about a ticket going to waste. I also have to make my annual loan repayment to my parents in April. After that, it should be a fairly inexpensive couple of months through the summer. I'm still plugging along paying off this debt, I just wish it would go down quicker.

I'm doing a great job, I think, in tracking all of my spending and seeing every place I can cut back. I look forward to more savings as I continue on and hopefully I will keep this in place even after all the debt is paid off.

Happy end of January weekend....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It doesn't hurt to ask...

The worst they will say is no. I called Comcast today to find out about what a charge was on my bill that I was unfamiliar with. Turns out it was something that I definitely needed, so I couldn't remove it, but while I was chatting with the rep, I asked if there was anything I could do to reduce my bill. He took a few moments to look and came back with a $10/month reduction in a promotional rate I was already getting. He said because I had a perfect payment record, they could give me an additional $10 off per month, so because I have shown myself to be a good standing customer with a great payment track record, I was able to get my cable TV service for $24.95/month instead of the regular price of $60.99/month!!!! Wow! I was getting it for $34.95/month for the promotion I was on, but this is even better!!! Next is to try tackling Chase bank and the interest rate. I am currently paying 13.24% with them, but I have a card I can transfer the balance to which is at 8.24%, of course there is only a balance of $1387 left on this card, it might be best just to buckle down and pay this one off ASAP and then focus on the other one, this way I can avoid the balance transfer fees. Decisions, decisions....I'm looking for ways to cut all of my expenses as much as possible and hoping to use the extra to pay off this debt quicker than ever! Wish me luck!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just chuggin' along...

I'm doing really well so far at getting this divorce debt paid down. I've thought twice every time I've been about to spend money and it's really helped. Just giving it that extra thought has me curbing my spending in so many ways. I'm challenging myself to have as many "No Spend Days" as possible and as of right now, I've only had 3 days where any money has left my wallet this year. Still doing everything I can think of to cut back on my spending and saving everywhere I possibly can. I'm feeling pretty optimistic that I will be able to pay this entire debt off by the end of the year, then I can get back to building up the savings and working toward other goals. It will be so nice to have the divorce debt paid off and I can finally close that chapter of my life for good.

How are you all doing on your goals and resolutions???

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mint.com

So, I decided to give www.mint.com a try for tracking my spending and helping me attain my goals this year. I just joined yesterday and so far I love, love, love it! It's great how you can set the parameters to your exact needs and it updates in real time to show you a clear picture of your finances whenever you log in. I'm really excited to be using the goals section of it to help me keep track of paying off my debt. It'll be fun tomorrow to log in and see my paycheck in there and again next week when I have several payments set to be made against my debt. Looking forward to seeing the balances go down and my financial picture look rosier all the time. :) Does anyone else use Mint? I'd love any feedback you may be able to give me. Thanks!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011...The Year of Frugality

at least for me it is! My goal this year is to get this divorce debt paid off 100% and to live as simply as possible for the next 12 months. I'm going to be putting every last nickel I can toward reducing this debt load and I know it's going to be tough and I'm going to have to forgo a lot of things, but I am ready to do it! I made a soup in my crock pot over the weekend that I love and can feed me several meals at a minimum cost. I froze half of it so I'll have meals for later and will eat it now for a couple of days. I'm going to try to learn how to make bread and I'm working really hard on cutting down my diet Coke habit. I use to drink 6 a day, now I am down to 1-2 a day and drinking a lot more water. I'm cutting meat WAY down out of my diet and am bringing my lunch to work every day. I've turned down the heat in my condo and am throwing on a sweater or a blanket over my lap. I'll be house sitting for my parents for almost the entire month of February, so that will help with both my food expenses and the utilities. I'm cutting the entertainment budget to almost nothing. I received a lot of clothes for Christmas, so I won't have to buy anything for quite some time which is nice and I stocked up on a lot of groceries in the past month as things were on sale. Feeling pretty good about the year ahead and although things are going to be tight in the budget, I know the feeling of success from paying off the debt will make this all worthwhile.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2011!