Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How was your Christmas???

Were you able to stay on budget?  Come in under budget?  Or are you saying, "what budget?"  I am very happy to say that I came in UNDER budget and did not have to pull out the credit card once for holiday expenses.  I was hoping that I'd have the credit card paid in full by 12/31/12, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen, although it will be close.  I'm down to $1286.01 left to pay on it and I should have that paid off by mid-January.  I have a fairly large check coming at work tomorrow for some back pay that was owed to me.  Once I see exactly how much that is, I'll have a better idea of when I'll have that balance down to zero!  I also have a check coming hopefully in the next couple of days for a $122 for a reimbursement from a drug company.  It pays to look up prescriptions you are taking to see if they have an offers.  I have a face cream that I use and even with my prescription my co-pay was still $152.50.  I checked out the site and they are currently running an offer where your portion is no more than $30.  So, I quickly filled that all out and sent it in, I should be getting that check in the next couple days as well, that will all go straight to debt reduction.  My birthday is in 2 months, so I've decided that I'm not going to go to the after Christmas sales and buy stuff I don't need or want and will wait until my birthday and use any birthday money I receive in order to do some shopping for spring/summer clothes. 

For New Year's Eve I will be going to a party at my brother's house and will spend the night there.  Better to not be out on the roads that night.  I love that they have a party every year, it's very low key, lots of fun and light on the wallet.  I only have to bring what I'd like to drink and a dish to share. 

Not too much else coming up that will cost much, so it'll be nice to get the credit card knocked out and then work on the car loan next.  In April, my annual loan payment to my parents is due and I've been putting money aside each paycheck to cover that, so that'll be taken care of.  Last year marked the 1/2 way repayment so now I'm on the downhill slide to having them paid off.  Woohoo!! 

I'm still working on fine tuning my new year's resolutions, they won't all have to do with my finances.  Are you making any resolutions?  If so, what are they?  I'd love to hear what you all are working on.  I hope you had a FANTASTIC Christmas holiday and are looking forward to 2013, I know I am. 

Current debt:  $232,806.75

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holidays...bah humbug...

OK, not really, I'm just working on a plan to keep the cost associated with said holidays down.  While I've drastically reduced my gift spending over the past several years, I'm still looking for ways to cut even more.  This coming Friday my mom, sister in law and I will take the day off work and head out shopping.  I'm hoping to take care of all of my shopping on this one day and then next Monday when I take my Grandma out to do her shopping.  Other than that, I hope to steer clear of the malls and shopping.  I'm looking forward to spending some time celebrating the real reason for the season, enjoying friends and family, relaxing and reflecting. 

I was home sick this past week for 2 days and was so thankful to have paid sick leave at work.  There was NO way I could have gone to work and while I felt miserable, it was a real comfort to know that I was still going to be paid for those days, one thing off my mind while I was home and could focus on getting better. 

I'm working on thinking of what my goals for 2013 are going to be.  I'm hoping to start the new year without the credit card debt, however, there may be a small amount left to pay on that.  That will be my first priority, then I have to get the money built up to make my annual payment to my parents for my mortgage down payment loan.  That will be due in April and is nice to get it taken care of.  Then it's time to power ahead on knocking out the car loan.  Since I turned 40 earlier this year, I am focusing on planning more for retirement and the future.  It's hard to believe I've hit 40 already, I'm sure 50 will come even quicker, then 60 and so on.  It was  a real eye opener to see that 40 came so fast and I want to be able to retire at a reasonable age and enjoy life. 

Not too much going on here, I know it's going to be 2013 before I know it and a new exciting year.  I hope you all are looking forward to a joyous holiday season with family and friends and NOT getting yourself in to debt.  Remember, no one wants you to give them a gift that you can't afford. I would hate to hear that someone when in to debt in order to give me a gift.  And because I feel like that, I am not going to put myself in to debt in order to give anyone else a gift. 

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season! 

Current debt:  $233,562

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Are you ready for the holidays???

It's hard for me to believe it's already this time of year again, where has 2012 gone?  I'm spending a quiet day at home today, not venturing out in to the chaos.  This will probably be the last weekend like this for me until the new year.  I'm enjoying watching football and baking some cookies for my lunch this weekend.  Working on my shopping list for gifts and what I'll need this week for my contribution for Thanksgiving dinner.  I took advantage of the great coupons and loss leaders at my local grocery stores and was able to get a large bag full of groceries for little to no money to donate at the food drive at work.  I've listed a bunch more things on eBay for a friend and she's going to pay me a commission for helping her, currently her items are selling for over $500! 

Dear friends were supposed to be in town this weekend, but they had to postpone the trip, probably not until after the new year now.  :(  They made the decision to postpone due to some expenses related to the trip and while I'm disappointed they aren't here, I am proud of them for making the financially smart decision to wait until the trip was more manageable for them. 

So, while there's not much to report from here, I'm enjoying the day and looking forward to a holiday season that is not as stressful as they usually are.  I feel really organized and ready for the season. 

Current debt:  $233,351 (stayed the same since last time, at least it's not going up!)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Reducing expenses...

I've been taking a look at a lot of what I thought were my "fixed" expenses and am finding that I can reduce these as well.  It had been awhile since I'd looked at my insurance rates, so I ran some quotes with different companies today and found that I could go back to Progressive which I'd had in the past and save over $500/year.  That's HUGE!!  My homeowners policy is also going to be just under $100 less per year by switching.  I had Progressive insurance years ago when my car was stolen and they were great to work with, so I'm excited about the savings and not worried about the coverage.  That $600 savings alone would put me under $1,000 left to go on my credit card debt! 

I finally turned my heat on this past Saturday night, but it didn't take much to take the chill off and I think if I'm diligent about it this year I can reduce the costs from what I paid last year. 

I took a full inventory of my pantry and have made a meal plan for the next 2 weeks.  I should only have to buy a few minimal items between now and Thanksgiving.  I know my mom will send me home with LOTS of leftovers and I won't balk at that.  Apparently she thinks I eat a lot as a single person because she always sends me home with enough food for almost a week. 

I cut my cable back somewhat too, not to just basic, but close.  I watch TV maybe a couple times a week, so it just doesn't make sense for me to have extended cable and all the extras, I don't watch enough TV to get my money's worth.  This change will save me $16/month and will really add up. 

A good friend was supposed to be coming in to town this coming weekend which I was really looking forward to, except I knew I would spend WAY too much money.  Since I put the money aside to spend while she was here, I'm going to go ahead and put it toward reducing my credit card instead.  I think I may actually get that final $1,550 paid off before New Year's Eve.  OMG, that would be the BEST way to start 2013.  Then I can plow full steam ahead in paying off the car. 

Well, that's about it for now, hope all is well with you.

Current debt:  $233,351

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 5 of the month...

and I've only spent $10.87 all month so far.  I had a super relaxing weekend at home, didn't go anywhere, in fact I never even got out of my PJ's yesterday.  It was WONDERFUL!!!  I made a delicious casserole from things I had on hand that I can eat for a couple of days.  I took some for lunch today, then saw on my calendar that I had a lunch meeting with one of our vendors and they always treat.  Even better, lunch out and my lunch brought from home saved for tomorrow.  I think I will have one more no spending day, possibly 2 before I have to go to the grocery store.  I perused the grocery ads and the coupons in yesterday's paper, I've done an inventory of what I have on hand and for the first time in a long time, I've made a meal plan.  I should be able to get through the next week to 10 days on less than $50 for groceries.  I'm kicking it in to high gear to get this credit card debt paid off by the end of the year.  I'm refusing to activate the replacement credit card that came in the mail and hoping that I can do all of my holiday shopping without needing to use it.  I'm pretty sure I can make it, I don't have much shopping to do and if I plan right and shop smart, I should be able to get it done quickly and for little money out of pocket.  Tomorrow I will know what this Friday's payday will look like and I'm hoping that will give me a better idea of where I stand on making further debt reduction process.  Other than that, not too much to report from here.  Hope you all had a great Monday and if you haven't already done so, get out and vote tomorrow. 

Current debt:  $234,184

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Progress is continuing...

Not as quickly as I'd like, but at least I'm continuing to make progress and the debt total is going down and not up.  I'm SO close to having the credit card paid off and should have it at a ZERO balance by the end of the year.  My credit card was compromised online and used all over the Internet, thankfully I wasn't responsible for those new charges and my account number has changed.  I received the new card and haven't activated it yet or put it in my wallet, less temptation that way.  I've been out and about often lately when if the card had been in my wallet, I knew I would have used it. This is something I've learned about myself and it's been great to know that by not having the card and not being able to make some purchases, I've not felt the least bit deprived.  I can't even remember what some of those things are that I would have wanted to buy, so I guess that means I didn't really want them to begin with. 

I'm having a bit of an internal dilemma as to what to do about my car.  While I really do like my Volvo XC90, it's WAY more car than I need and I resent it every time I have to fill the gas tank.  I've had the car for just over a year now and I'm trying to decide if I want to keep it, or trade it in for something smaller and more economical.  I'm afraid that for a short time I'll be upping my debt in order make this change, so I'm torn as to what to do.  I've decided to make myself wait at least 6 months thinking on this and not to make any quick decisions.  Quick decisions usually spell financial mistakes for me. 

As the holidays are approaching, I'm looking at the gift shopping I am doing and there will really be very little spending.  I typically only buy for my niece and nephew along with both of my Grandma's.  My parents I always go in on something with my brother and that's about it, I don't buy gifts for friends.  I bake a lot and usually give that away to many of my friends. 

Still really busy at work and putting in a lot of overtime, that's really what's helping me get this credit card off my back.  I'll let you know when the debt is gone 100%.  Hope you are all having a fabulous fall. 

Take care!

Current debt:  $234,202

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A quick update...

I know, I know, it's been awhile again since I posted anything, but it's because I'm still working long hours and putting in lots of overtime.  Did you see the decrease in the ticker above?  I'm really seeing progress on my debt reduction and doing what I can be mindful of my day to day spending.  It's the 7th day of the month and so far I've only spent money one day!  OK, mind you, I spent $152.88 yesterday, but that was groceries for the next week and a half and fuel for the car and a birthday gift for a dear friend.  All in all, not too bad.  It's starting to really cool off here and I'm fighting turning on the furnace yet, I always try to at least make it to mid-October before doing so and if I can make it for the next week, I'll be out of town for 2 weeks, so I may even be able to hold off until Nov. 1st.  That darn electric heat is expensive!! 

I've been busy with all kinds of things besides work lately too.  I've been watching my niece play soccer on most Sundays and trying to get to all of my nephew's cross country meets.  I've been taking care of all of my yearly Dr. appts, I've had my annual gyno exam and just the other day I had my 1st mammogram, had my eyes checked, my teeth cleaned, and received my flu shot.  Not one of these things cost me any money out of pocket and I'm eternally grateful for insurance.  I even have some long term care insurance that paid me $50 for having the mammogram, hard to pass that up!  And you know me, as soon as that money was deposited in my account, I made a payment on my credit card with it.  I can hardly wait to see that at a zero balance.  Next up after the credit card is knocking out the car loan.  I hope to have that one paid off by the end of 2013. 

I received a call on Saturday morning from my credit card company asking if I'd been trying to use the card that morning, as I'd just gotten out of the shower and had not yet turned on my computer, I told them no.  Turns out, my card had been compromised somewhere along the line and someone had tried to charge over $1,000 in the wee hours of the morning all over the Internet.  Thankfully my card was being closely monitored and it was caught in time.  I would have noticed it as well, later that day as I had been planning on logging in to make a payment, but so glad they flagged it.  I'll have to wait about a week to get a new card in the mail, which is fine, I rarely use it anyway as I'm trying to get it paid off, so I won't miss it.

On a totally different note, I am taking my niece to the Justin Bieber concert this week!  Am I insane?  I think I must be or I really, really love that little girl!  A friend won the tickets from the radio and her daughter is too young to go, so she gave the tickets to me.  Oh well, at least I didn't have to pay anything for them and my niece is SO excited, it makes it totally worth it. 

Other than that, not too much going on around these parts, working, working, working to get the debt paid down and enjoying these last few days of warm fall weather before the rain and cold sets in.  Hope you all had a GREAT weekend, I know I did.   Take care! 

Current debt:  $235,965.49

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I thought twice about spending...

I was going to go to Costco on my way home from work today which would have put a pretty big dent in my wallet, then I thought twice about it.  I knew going straight from work without eating dinner would almost double my bill there and I'd come home with all kinds of snacks that tomorrow I'd look at and feel so guilty.  So, I decided to come home and take stock of what I had in the pantry, fridge and freezer and to eat a quick dinner before heading out.  Turns out, this was a really good move on my part.  Not only did I eat something good for dinner, I also realized that with a little thinking and planning, I could avoid doing much shopping for another week to 10 days.  It's been a while since I've done a grocery shopping freeze and after taking stock of what I have on hand, I should be able to stay out of the store, other than for fresh produce for quite awhile still and continue to eat good, healthy meals.  This upcoming weekend I don't have too many plans, so I will take advantage of the time to prep meals for the following week and peruse my cookbooks and the web to come up with some new ideas. 

Does anyone know of a website where I can plug in a few ingredients and recipes will come up?  I know they're out there, I just can't think of what they might be at the moment.  This should really help me come up with some new meals that I like and are easy to fix.  With the money I was going to spend at Costco, I think I'll make another payment on my credit card.  My goal is to have that paid off by New Years.  Wish me luck! 

Current debt:  $237,622.88

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Favorite savings tips...

 
Hello all...
 
I'm still working a ton of hours and when I get a minute to update my debt ticker above, I will do that, but in the meantime I thought I'd let you all know what I've been doing with all the overtime pay I've been earning.  It has been so great to see these large paychecks coming and and even greater to see the money going out to reduce my debts.  I've been able to make great progress in reducing my debt while I've been working so much.  I'm currently ahead on my car payment through the end of January and while I've only been rounding my mortgage payment up a slight bit, I'm seeing greater decrease in this as well.  The main debt I've been hammering away at is my credit card which is now down to under $4,500!  Yay!  I can't wait to see this at zero.  I'm really hoping I can do it by the end of the year and hoping to eliminate the car loan by the end of 2013.  I think that paying debts off early is my greatest savings tip as this will reduce the interest paid over time and can save a bundle, but I also have many other savings tips that I use all the time.  Here are a few more of my most favorite. 
 
*I buy my bread at the Franz Bakery outlet for at least 75% off the retail price.
 
*I save all of my change and then cash it in at Coinstar for gift cards, when you do this, they don't charge the fee like they do when converting the change to cash.  Sometimes I'll get a gift card for a gift to give, sometimes I use it for Starbucks as a treat for myself. 
 
*I keep a running list of people I buy gifts for and ideas for each of them, that way when I'm out and about I can keep my eye out for sales that will stretch my gift giving dollars. 
 
*I can wear jeans to work and tend to buy all of mine at the thrift stores, they fit great and are already broken in without breaking my wallet. 
 
*I check out books and movies at the library rather than buying them. 
 
*I do all my grocery shopping at one store to take advantage of the loyalty points that give me a greater discount when buying gas there as well. 
 
*I never order a soda out at a restaurant, they are grossly overpriced, so I drink water, it's free and good for me. 
 
*Even though I'm busy, I make almost all of my food from scratch rather than stopping for fast food.  This is both cheaper and healthier. 
 
* I put most of my clothes in the dryer for only a couple of minutes, then hang them to dry.  This will lower the energy used to dry them and cut down on the wear and tear. 
 
 
Those are just a few of my tips for now.  If you have a great tip to share, I'd love to hear it.  Hope all is well with you! 
 
Current debt:  $237,617  (I love that this is dropping!!! ) 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Resisted the urge to spend...

Today I went to the mall to meet my step dad to help him pick out an anniversary gift for my mom and I thought about doing a little shopping of my own, I've been wanting some new clothes, but I resisted and thought I would wait until after Labor Day when my mom, my best friend, her mom and I all go shopping at the local thrift store where all the clothes are half off on Labor Day.  In the past, I've done really well on these shopping trips and since I can wear casual clothes to work every day, it's nice to find jeans and t-shirts there at GREAT prices.  To help me resist the urge to splurge today, I only went in to stores that were necessary to help my step dad out with his shopping and I went straight home afterward.  I didn't even go in to any of my favorite stores.  Funny thing, while driving home, I was really proud of myself and didn't feel like I'd missed out on anything, but not at least window shopping.  I think I'm getting better and better at this saving money and not spending thing.  Tomorrow I will know what my paycheck for this Friday will be and I can make my plan to make debt repayments.  With so much overtime, I know I will be able to make another good size dent in it.  Stay tuned....more to come later this week! 

Current debt:  $239,744.00  (darn credit card interest increased this total a little bit.)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Working WAY too many hours....

So, usually when I've been away for awhile it's a sign that things aren't going well, but lately it's all been going right!  We've been swamped at work lately and I've been working a ton of overtime.  Just this week alone, I put in 73 hours.  Woohoo!  That's helping me really make a dent in some of this debt.  My main goal right now is to have the credit card paid off by the end of the year and the car loan paid off at the end of 213.  Then it's full speed ahead paying down the mortgage and upping the retirement contributions.  My parents won't take any more than $2,000/year on the money I owe them, so I may as well put the extra to savings, mortgage reduction and retirement.  Usually when I'm making extra money I spend more, but since I've been working so hard, I've decided to continue being frugal and making the extra money work as hard for me as I've been working to earn it.  Seeing those balances drop so much quicker is very motivating to keep this up.  The funny thing is, I have so many things on my wish list, but none of them seem worth it when I've been working so hard to earn the money.  I've cut down on just about any extra spending, I'm sure it helps that when I get home from work, I'm too tired to go do anything.  I know that this isn't something I can sustain, so for now I'll just enjoy the extra money coming in and get ahead on some bills, feels really good! 

How are things with all of you?

Current Debt:  $239,728.33  (yay, it's under $240K!!)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

No spends days will be more than 50% this month...

I've been trying really hard to have fewer and fewer days each month where I'm spending money.  This month, I just hit the 15 days mark which is 50% of the month, but I know at least one more day that I will not spend, so I'll be over the 50% mark!  Yay!  I write down EVERY penny I spend in a little notebook and just the act of having to write it down helps keep me accountable, but I also love to see how many of those days show a big, fat ZERO spent.  It's the little things in life sometimes. 

Current debt:  $242,070.69

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Goals for each month...

I've decided that I need to start challenging myself a little more and would like to start coming up with monthly goals that I'd like to achieve.  So, I'll start this new plan in July and follow it up until the end of the year. 

July goals:
*Walk at least 2 days a week for exercise
*Eat out no more than 3 times all month
*NOTHING charged on the credit card
*Sell $100 on eBay, money to go toward credit card reduction

We'll see how this goes, but I'm hoping it motivates me to get moving on some things that I'd like to achieve. 

Current debt:  $242,070.51  (hoping these challenges will reduce that!) 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Just checking in...

Not too much to report from the around here, but I guess that's a good thing.  That means I haven't been spending a bunch of money and dig my hole deeper and deeper.  I'm currently staying pretty steady where I'm at, but I'm not going further in debt, so I'm going to look at that as a positive for today.  This Friday is payday and I currently still have quite a bit of money in the checking account from last payday, so I haven't had to pull out the credit card at all! Woohoo!  Now, that might not seem like much to some of you, but for me that's big progress!  I have to go to the gas station tomorrow and I know it won't be cheap, it never is, but at least I know I have the money to pay for it now, so I won't have to use credit.  I'm taking a few more days off from work and really hoping these don't become big spending days like they were last month when I did the same thing.  I have a few things planned, but not a ton of stuff, so it should be relatively inexpensive.  The week after this one is looking to be really mellow and should involve very little spending!  Yay!  I will have to work a really long one day next week, but the overtime will be a nice addition to my regular paycheck, going to be nice to have some extra to add to the debt.  :)

So, like I said, not a whole lot going on here, just wanted to check in. 

Current debt:  $242,070.51

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Long time since last post....is never a good thing...

Ugh!  It's been over a month since I've last posted and that is never a good thing.  Whenever I'm not posting often, it usually means my finances are in the toilet.  Seriously, who wants to tell the world when things aren't going great, I like to post about my successes, who doesn't?!   It's really not all that bad, but I've been making very little progress on my debt reduction and that is extremely frustrating!  I was off from work for a week over Memorial day weekend and any time away from work usually spells lots of SPENDING for me.  :(  I'm disappointed in myself for my lack of restraint while on vacation.  This wasn't really like a "vacation" anyway, more of a staycation and trying to use up vacation time before losing it, so there was really no excuse.  Oh, but the sales were SO great for the holiday weekend and I am now the proud? owner of a beautiful new sofa from Macys.  Or should I say that Capital One is currently the proud owner of my sofa?  I've been analyzing my debts ever since that long week off and am not pleased with my behavior or my debt totals.  When I realized that my car is currently 10% of my total debt, including my mortgage, I about had a heart attack!  This is SO not acceptable and must be dealt with ASAP.  This coming weekend will find me listing many more things on eBay and getting rid of things I don't use, need or want all in order to help pay off my existing debt.  Almost $7,000 on the credit card and $24,000 on my car along with my mortgage of just over $200,000!  All this on an income of around $50,000/year.  Who do I think I am to have amassed so much debt?!  Not happy at all with myself right now and I'm going work my fanny off to get this monkey off my back.  I'm 40 years old and certainly don't want to continue having this much credit card and auto loan debt hanging on.  OK, enough about my ranting about my bad behavior, time to stop typing and do something about it.  Time for some tough love with myself and time to take the one credit card I have, out of my wallet and put it on ice. 

Current debt:  $242,935.00  (Ugh, makes me a little nauseous just typing that!)

Monday, April 30, 2012

A third of the year is gone already...

Where does the time go?  I can't believe we've already finished up 1/3 of the year!  While I'm not where I want to be with my goals, I'm making progress and all things are pointing to the bottom line looking SO much better by the time we are 2/3 of the way done with the year.  We're coming up on my favorite time of year and the one in which I tend to spend the least amount of money!  April always hits me hard because I have several big expenses to pay for, now it's smooth sailing for me until we get closer to the holidays.  The longer days are such a great thing, I can spend more time outside and relaxing with a good book or by the pool at my condo that I pay for regardless of whether I use it or not, might as well use it.  :)  I'm looking forward to seeing how little I can spend, while still having some fun.  I plan to be a tourist this summer in my own town and finally see several places here that I've never been to, even though I've lived here my entire 40 years.  Should be fun to get out and explore some new areas.  I have so much vacation time to use up and if I don't use it, I lose it.  That's not going to happen!  I'm looking forward to May 1st and seeing the change in my spending and how I'm looking at each and every purchase I make.  My goal is to have my car and credit card paid off by 12/31/13.  That will leave me with only my mortgage and the remainder of my debt to my parents, which they refuse to take more than $2,000/year in payments for, so I'll put the extra toward retirement and my mortgage.  :) 

I hope you are all having a wonderful spring! 

Current debt:  $243,615.69

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ever tried Advocare???

I have been wanting to do an herbal cleanse for quite some time now and I've been really slow about getting on it.  When I was discussing this with a friend of mine, she mentioned that she's a distributor for Advocare and recommended that I try theirs.  I was a little reluctant, but thought what the heck, I'll give it a try.  She mentioned that if I became a distributor, I'd get the products at a discount, not to mention with signing up, I would get a lot of their drinks as well with my starter kit.  So far, I've been thrilled with all of the products I've tried.  I even ventured in to the skin care a bit, something I rarely do because I have very dry and sensitive skin.  The Advocare has been GREAT, very subtle and non irritating.  My skin has never been so soft and feels wonderful!  I'm thrilled with all the products thus far.  Does anyone else have experience with Advocare? 

If you're interested, check it out.  https://www.advocare.com/120424311

Current debt:  $243,565.24 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Refinance complete...

So, just yesterday I was able to complete the refinance on my condo and lowered my interested rate a full 2%!!  Up until now, I had a 5/1 Interest only ARM and it was due to shift rates.  While this would have been fine, it was only going to stay the current rate for 12 months and then it could shift every 12 months for the remaining 24 years.  That is a stress that I do not need to have on my head.  So, I've locked in now for 30 years at 4.125% and will finally be making payments toward reducing the principal as well.  Although, all along, I've been paying extra to reduce the principal, it's just that it was an interest only loan.  Something I would not recommend, but as we all do, we learn some lessons the hard way.  But, now that I know what it's going to cost me to pay it off and there won't be any surprises, I feel like I can really start to make progress on the mortgage and other debt and really see the big picture. 

Current debt:  $243,565.24

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pretty inexpensive weekend...

We finally had some GREAT spring weather around here and I spent most of the weekend outside enjoying it! Saturday started with a 5 mile walk and ended watching a baseball game, both totally free things to do. Sunday was a little overcast in the morning, but not bad enough to not get out for a walk, so out I went. Then a trip to Ikea. I don't think I've ever gotten out of there so cheaply!! Only $20.15!! Sure, I could have spent several hundred $$, but I'm trying something new...I am going to think about several of the things I saw and wanted and I will save up the money to buy them. I figure this will either make me take my time buying something, or I will decide I didn't really want/need it to begin with. I'm working really hard on not using my credit card and slowly paying it off. I've been in the vicious cycle for too long of making a large payment, then coming up short of cash for things and pulling the card out. NO MORE!! I've also been writing down EVERY single penny I am spending and this is making me very aware of the way I tend to nickel and dime my way further in to debt all the time. No more! If I don't have the cash to pay for it, I don't need it. Wish me luck!

Current debt: $240,686.82 (seems to be stuck here...)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Updating net worth...

Wow! That was depressing! I just updated my net worth with real values for things and my house plummeted, just like most everyone else and it really makes for an ugly bottom line. Oh well! At least I still have my house and I am in a good position to work on getting it paid down and hopefully values will turn around soon. I'm not looking at it as a short term investment, so I've got plenty of time for it to regain it's value.

Anyone else looking at real values?

Current debt: $240,686.82

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No news is good news...

Not much to report from around here, just plugging along. My refinance is all set and moving along well, should close next week and I've paid one of my big April expenses, one more to go, but I'm not transferring the money from savings until it is closer to being due. I have to make my annual loan payment to my parents on April 27th, so I'll transfer the money right before that in to my checking account.

I had a nice quiet weekend at home alone, the former BF, now currently my roommate, was out of town and I enjoyed the peace and quiet and the solitude. :) Friday night I stayed home and did laundry, cleaned, watch what I wanted on TV and puttered around. Saturday I went to a friend's son's baseball game then did a little shopping and came home to enjoy the rest of the day reading and watching a movie. Got all of my Easter stuff put together and ready for Sunday, then spend Easter out at my parents with my brother and his family. It was a lovely weekend. Very mellow and relaxing!

This upcoming weekend is looking to be much the same, not too much going on and I'm looking forward to it. These kinds of weekends are much needed, both for their relaxing potential and the minimal spending that happens. I'm looking forward to the weather continuing to get nicer and being able to be outside more and more.

I have some vacation time coming up next month with little planned other than some down time and my mom and I have a few day trips planned. Looking forward to that.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter holiday and are enjoying this spring!

Current debt: $240,686.82

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The end of March already...

Oh my! Where has the first quarter of 2012 gone?! I feel like I'm a hamster on a wheel, spinning spinning spinning, but not really getting anywhere. While I've been busy putting money aside for my big April expenses, I don't feel like I'm making any progress on my credit card debt. I've had to slow down the payments to set the money aside for next month, but once I make those payments, I will have depleted my savings and will be back to working on the credit card debt and building up the savings again. Feels like it's a cycle that never really ends.

I've sold a number of things on eBay lately and have netted over $800, so that is great and it's been nice to declutter. I'm also getting ready to take several nice dresses, shoes and purses to the consignment shop in town and hoping that will help bring in some extra cash.

I'm also in the process of refinancing my condo. I've been in it 5 years and the 5/1 ARM is up for adjustment next month. Luckily for me, I think, I qualify for the HARP program and it looks like I should be able to lock in a 30 year rate of 4.125%. That would be great as I'm currently paying 6.125%. That 2% reduction,while keeping my payments the same will do a lot to reduce my principal much quicker. Is anyone else looking in to this?

The BF is still looking for a place to live and has paid me back 1/2 of the $1500.00 he borrowed from me and he's working on finding a place, but it's taking awhile as most places are expensive in the Seattle area. I'm hoping he'll find something shortly as I think it's going to be crucial to our relationship that we each have our own space. My 750' condo is much too small for the 2 of us and I really like living on my own. So, good thoughts please that he'll find something soon! :)

Looking forward to spring and much better weather, I think it will put me in a sunnier mood!

Current debt: $241,094.10

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

VERY slowwwwlllyyy paying stuff down

Ugh! How is it that it takes SO long to get debt paid off, but racking it up is no trouble at all?! I'm not making as much progress as I'd like at the moment, but that's because I've been putting all my eBay sales money in to my savings account for my 2 bigger expenses coming up next month. I've got to pay $2,000 to my parents for my annual loan payment and I have my season football ticket renewal coming up at the beginning of the month. I have the money in savings for both and I feel good about that, but I don't want to stop adding to savings for a bit until I know I'll have a good cushion once I pay those bills. I also have payments coming in monthly from the BF as he pays down the amount that I loaned him back in November, so that helps too. I'm thinking I'd like to have a cushion of about $1,000 after paying the big bills next month, then I can focus solely on paying down the credit card. I'm excited that I haven't used the credit card for quite some time now and I don't plan on using it any time soon either. I've been making good money on my eBay sales and I'm finding out what sells and what doesn't. I also am having 3 dresses and a coat dry cleaned right now to take down to the hoity toity consignment shop in town to see what I can get for them. :) As I peruse eBay a little bit more, I'm shocked at what I am seeing that sells and it's giving me more ideas of what I have that I can sell. I love, love, love the thought of decluttering too. Yay!

The BF is moving out on his own soon, which will be great! I am not good at living with someone and I can't wait to have my whole place back to myself. We're still going to be dating, but just stepping things back and we'll see what happens. He wants to get married and I have no idea if I EVER want to get married again. I got burned pretty bad last time and I'm just not sure I want to go through that again. I'm seeing a counselor that is helping me through a lot of this, but we'll see how it goes. I'm perfectly content being on my own.

Not too much else to report from here, things have been quiet lately.

Current debt: $242,809.84

Monday, February 20, 2012

eBay sales are going well...

Wow! I'm surprised that in just a week I've earned over $350 from the items I listed on eBay!! While I know this isn't going to be something I can sustain, it feels great to have cleared out a bit of clutter and to have made some cash on it. I'm amazed at what some people are willing to pay for some things. Oh well, it's all good for me!

Other than the eBay sales things have been cruising right along lately. We had a big family birthday party this past weekend, we have 4 birthdays in February and 3 of us were hitting milestones. 10-40-70!! YAY!!

The BF's mother suddenly passed away yesterday without any warning and he's having a tough time with it. They weren't especially close, but the suddenness of this has really shaken him up. Since I never met her, I'm somewhat at a loss as to how to support him, but we're working through it and we'll head to her funeral later this week and it will be nice for him to see all of his family.

That's about all from here, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend...

Current debt: $243,358.85

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is February 1/2 over already???

Where is this month going? My goodness it's flying by!!! I'm doing fairly well on my eBay listings and am happy so far with the things I'm selling. Several of my items have quickly met the reserve bid and are rapidly increasing, so that's cool. I went through my storage unit at my condo and was pleasantly surprised to find several more still new in the box items that I could list. Yay! I'm not sure how people do this for a living, but it's fun to clean up some of my closets and sell off a few things to make a little extra cash.

I've been a lot more diligent about taking all the survey offers that come my way and so far this year, I've earned an extra $352 taking surveys. Not bad! There really is money to be made in surveys, you just have to know what to do and be patient, I've been doing them for years and I'm really starting to see it pay off.

I received my tax return deposited in to my account yesterday and I've put that money away in savings until it's time to renew my football season tickets, then I'll use the remainder of it toward debt reduction. Most of the big expenses for the moment are done, so I'll be able to refocus on the debt reduction. At least I've gotten the spending in check again, so the bleeding has stopped, not it's time to work on reducing the debt. I'll keep you posted.

Can't wait to see what the final eBay sales are when these auctions end. :)

Current debt: $243,359.85

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ebay...

So, I have a few things that I thought I would try to sell on eBay. I've done Craigslist before, but now I'm a little leery of doing that, so eBay is where I'm going to list a few things. Does anyone have any helpful advice for a newbie like me? As you all know, I'm trying to pay off my debt and clean things up. I have several things around my house that I just don't use and really don't have a need for. One being my Roku box...I thought it was going to be a great idea as I don't watch much TV to start with and there are really only a few things I like to watch. Turns out, the shows I wanted to see wouldn't be available through Roku for quite some time. I went back to basic cable and got a screamin' deal, so I'm happy. I'm also selling a few brand new, still in the box items that I received a few years back as wedding gifts and I know I will never use. It looks like it's easy enough to list things, but I'm sure there's a lot more to it than I realize. Any suggestions?

I did a few surveys at Vindale.com the other day and made good progress toward earning another $50 payout. Yay! Also, there was about $32 in other surveys that I did over the weekend that I should be receiving payment on soon.

Not too much else to report from here, just checking in.

Current debt: $243,413.12 (let's hope my eBay auctions help lower this number and soon!)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Plugging along...

Seems like I'm just kind of going through the motions lately and I hate that feeling. I usually feel like this in the wintertime though and it makes me think that someday when I retire, I'm going to want to move somewhere a little sunnier for my winters. And when I start to feel like that, it makes me think about saving for retirement and getting my debts paid off, so that I can retire. I'll be 40 at the end of the month and of course that's got me thinking about retirement too. I'm lucky in the fact that I will receive a pension for sure when I retire, and I have been participating in the retirement fund at work up to 100% of the match, don't want to give away free money, and my accounts are all up at the moment. :) But thinking about all of this stuff has really got me wondering what I need to do to get down and dirty serious about being able to retire when I'm 60. That's what I'd really like to do, so I guess it's time to make an appt. with my financial planner and look at our road map and see where we've been, where we are at and where we are going. Stay tuned y'all, hopefully I'll have some inspiring words of wisdom from him soon to pass along.

Current debt: $243,449.79

Monday, February 6, 2012

My goodness the money flows easily...

Ugh! It was an expensive weekend and I didn't even really do anything all that fun! Friday after work I had a chiropractor appt. and then I had to go buy the BF's birthday present. Got home just in time to wrap it and sit down long enough to say, ahhh, before he walked in the door and we were off again, out the door to dinner. So, $150 later for his gift and dinner, we made it home and called it a night early, he had to be at work early the next morning. Saturday I rose soon after he headed out the door for work and got ready for the day, and off to the grocery store I went. I grabbed my cart and opened my purse to find that I'd forgotten my list and all my coupons at home! Dang I hate that! So, back home I went (what a waste of time and gas!) to grab my stuff and head back to the store. Groceries rang up to $90.99, then I scan my loyalty card and all my coupons come off, bringing the total down to $38.17. Not bad! And that included a bottle of wine and a 6-pack of beer!! After putting all the groceries away and doing my weekly cleaning, I am off again, this time to the eye Dr for my annual exam. Ugh! I have a condition with my eyes where my pupil's don't react to light and remain dilated at all times, well, you can imagine what it cost to correct this problem and my new specs set me back $418 after my insurance kicked in their portion. Totally sucky!!! The rest of the day thankfully was free of spending and I had a nice quiet afternoon and evening at home alone, the BF ended up having to work a 12 hour day. Sunday morning, the phone rang at 4:52 as the BF was on call and had to go in to work. He arrived home at 9:00 with a piping hot latte for me to enjoy while reading the paper, that was very sweet of him. (he had forgotten that I was out for coffee with my BFF), but that's OK, I enjoyed a short latte with her and it was fun to catch up. The rest of Sunday passed by nicely with a relaxing day of hanging out at home with the BF and watching the game. Was it just me or where there not really that many great commercials this year? Anyway, here it is Monday again and I'm back at work and really must run now, lots to do...

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are starting to see the first signs of spring like I am, some of my tulips have started sprouting! Yay!

Current debt: $243,045.42

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The start of a new month...

and time to put all those poor money decisions of January behind us. OK, well there weren't really all that many bad money decisions, just not a lot of progress on the debt repayment. 2 steps forward 3 steps back is about what it felt like, but I know it really wasn't that bad, more like spinning my wheels and getting no where. Standing still is better than falling behind, right? The credit card has been put away and will not come out again unless there is a REAL emergency and hopefully that won't be coming up anytime soon.

I filed my taxes today and I'll be getting a refund of just over $1,000 which I'll use to pay for my season tickets for football this year and still have some left to put toward debt reduction. Not a lot, but a little bit and that helps. I've also reallocated money from my paycheck to my savings so that come April, I'll have the money needed to make my annual loan payment to my parents. This year is exciting, it marks the halfway payment of the loan! Yay! The BF is also making payments to me monthly to pay off the $1,500 I loaned him, so I'm putting that toward the payment to my parents as well. He's also working as much overtime as he can to get his debts paid down as quick as possible too. I think once his debts are within reason, he will probably be moving out and living on his own. It would be nice for both of us to have some space and since I live in a small 750' square foot condo, it's a little crowded. We brought his 60" TV over which is WAY too big and takes up WAY too much space, but then that might be the girl in me talking, I know how men are about their TVs. :)

Anyway, it looks like it might be a little bit of an expensive weekend with the BF having a birthday and all, but shouldn't be TOO bad. I hope you all had a great January and February is looking brighter and sunnier...

Current debt: $243,245.42

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Very little progress lately....

Things are just going along, not a whole lot of progress in any direction good, bad or indifferent. Feels like I'm sort of stuck in the same place just waiting for my next payday so I can pay off some more stuff. We're working really hard on not spending too much money and trying to be as frugal as possible. Eating meals at home and cooking from scratch, taking our lunch, reducing our utilities, etc. The BF's birthday is later this week and I'm waiting until that day to go buy his present, that way I can wait until payday and not have to use the credit card, which I'm doing my absolute best to try avoiding right now. Looks like this is going to be a fairly frugal week, not much going out, all bills are paid up and just kind of going through the motions right now.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful January, can you believe the first month of the year is going be behind us already? My my how time flies...

Current debt: $243,479.01 (YUCK!!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Very little spent this weekend...

We had another mellow, small spending weekend. BF works on Saturdays, so Friday nights we don't do much but go to the clubhouse at our condo for cocktail hour. Saturday I was down all day with a horrendous headache and didn't go anywhere. Not exactly the nicest way to NOT spend money, but a no spend day it was and I'll take it. Sunday we went to try out a new church and we did stop at Starbucks for a treat, we usually buy a latte once a week, so it's a splurge for us and probably one we could do without, but we really enjoy it and since we don't get too crazy with spending, we feel it's OK. We rarely even go out to eat, so this is our big splurge each week. After church we went to do a little grocery shopping and while we were hungry and probably bought more than we normally would have, we didn't go overboard with junk food and kept it to stuff to make lunches and dinners, so we're set for most of the week now. After that we went home, had lunch and watched a couple of movies that we had borrowed from my parents and had a nice relaxing day. :)

What did you do this weekend? Did spend a little or a lot? Any unnecessary spending?

Current debt: $242,805.55

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 4 of no spending...

We've been getting hit really hard with snow this week which is not something we are prepared for around here. Thankfully I've been able to get to work everyday, loving my new Volvo, it's been great! Most businesses are closed today, so at work it's been very quiet, not too many phone calls and I'm getting a lot done, yay! The BF and I have been making a conscious effort to not spend money needlessly and we've been doing a really good job of eating from our existing stock of food and getting a little creative when don't have everything we want for a full meal. I love that we are having so many days without spending and really enjoying it. The other night we even turned off the TV (saving money on electricity) and had a great time playing Yahtzee! I've been 3 full weeks now without any Excedrin and I'm feeling great. I think I'm past the withdrawal headaches that I was having and am feeling pretty good. Now I need to get my butt back in to exercising and working out, I know I will feel so much better once I do. I've also been making myself drink water in between every diet Coke and this is helping me feel better along with saving money. I'm not ready to give up my diet Coke habit altogether, but these small steps are at least in the right direction.

Hope you are all having a great week!

Current debt: $242,805.55 (feels like I'm stuck at this number, but I know it will move again soon!)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Frugal weekend...

So, we had a great, fun filled weekend, but didn't spend much money at all! Yay! Friday night I went to the clubhouse at my condo where they have a weekly cocktail party. Everyone brings what they want to drink and a snack to share. Very fun, low cost and it was nice to know that after drinking, I just had to walk upstairs to my home. Saturday, I did a little grocery shopping early and scored some great bargains in the markdowns. I spent the rest of the day at home while BF worked, then my brother and sister in law brought their kids down to spend the night. We stayed home and made caramel corn and watched a movie, then woke up to snow on Sunday morning. After making a big breakfast and filling our bellies, we went for a walk in the snow, it was beautiful and we burned off some of that breakfast having a snowball fight. Very fun!

After taking the kids home, BF and I came home and watched some football and a movie we got for Christmas. Lounged around the rest of the evening and enjoyed relaxing and the quiet of the kids being gone. HA! I love those kids, don't get me wrong, but my goodness they can be loud. :)

We watched Extreme Cheapskates last night which was quite entertaining, not to mention troubling. Some of these people are WAY over the top in their efforts to save money, but there were also some really great thoughts shared as well. While I'm not willing to ask people in restaurants if I can have their leftovers or resort to recycling toilet paper, I like the idea of a weekly fiscal fast every few months to use up what we have on hand and save some money. I'll watch the show again, if for no other reason than to glean a few good money saving ideas and to be disturbed by the doings of some people out there.

Current debt: $242,805.55

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Just going through the motions....

It's been a long week! BF and I are arguing, about what you ask? Money! He has quite a bit of debt from his divorce, I have some from mine as well, but not as much, my main debt is my car and my mortgage and I'm passed that living paycheck to paycheck, but he's not. He seems to be OK with that and the occasional bouncing of a check, I'm not OK with that and I'm having a hard time dealing with his nonchalance with money. I've worked really hard to get where I am and to have the credit score that I do and I'm not sure I want to move forward with a life with him if he's not willing to put in the hard work to get things paid off and be debt free. It also does not seem to bother him that he's still listed on the mortgage of the house that his wife was awarded in their divorce. She's in no rush to refinance and he doesn't see an issue with that. He's currently working on getting his bills paid on time, but doesn't want to listen to my advise. I have a credit score over 800 and have never paid a bill late, recently had no problem getting a $26,000 loan for my car, I was approved in less than 10 minutes, yet he seems to think he's got it all figured out. I'm hoping that we can sit down this weekend and go through all of his bills and plot out a plan, not only to get him paying them on time, but paying them off. He says that's what he wants, but I think it might just be lip service. Wish me luck!

Current debt total: $242,805.55 (hoping for some survey money in this weekend to bring this down a bit more.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fairly frugal weekend...

I had a relatively non-spending weekend which was great! I've been fighting headaches my whole life and I just went on a new medicine that I wasn't sure how I would react to it, so I didn't plan much and I'm glad. I slept a lot!!! Not sure if this medicine will work or not, it takes some time for your body to adjust to it, so we'll see, but the nice thing about sleeping so much this past weekend is that while I'm sleeping, I can't spend money. :) The BF and I stayed home on Friday night as he has to work on Saturdays. Saturday I went to a baby shower, then came home and since he was on call, we didn't want to plan anything. Sunday we went out for breakfast and then out to my parents to visit for a bit, came home from there and watched football and a movie. Now, I'm back to work today and I'm really sleepy still. I think I may have to cut back on the meds a little bit and slowly build up, I can't function on work days like this. Not too much going on this week, should be a fairly inexpensive one.

Hope everyone had a great, fun, frugal weekend and is doing really well on their resolutions...

Current debt: $243,079.16 (darn interest brought this back up, grrr!)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Payday, oh how I love thee...

1st payday of the new year and all the payments to my various debts will start clicking away and reducing that huge number! This check also included a bonus of 2 extra days of pay which is really nice to help put a dent in the debt. I know some people think that you should use a bonus for something fun, but my feeling is that I must have already done the something fun, hence the debt! :) Car payment, credit card payment will both hit today and then I have a few smaller payments that will go next week. Yay!

I hope everyone has had a great first week of 2012 and is looking toward a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead!

Have a great weekend and may it be a frugal one as well!

Current debt: $242,869.16

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Getting it paid down....

So, I just received notification of what my first paycheck will look like this year and I'm excited to say that I'll be able to make several payments on my outstanding debt and work toward building up the savings account a bit too. I'll be making a $450 payment on my car, although the payment dues is only $398. $472 is going to the credit card, paying insurance of $132.52 and association dues for my condo, these are $223. This still will leave me with plenty of cash to get through the next 2 weeks until payday again. I'm waiting for a credit on my credit card for something I sent back, I received it too late for Christmas and didn't open it, just put return to sender and shipped it back. Frustrating, but luckily I found it at a better price locally and had it in time.

How are you all doing on the spending this new year? Are you keeping all of your expenses in check?

Current debt: $243,256.26 (going to look much better by the end of the week!)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

1st working day of the year...

Wow! What a fun, relaxing and relatively inexpensive holiday weekend. We did go out to dinner on Friday night, but that was with a gift certificate, so the total cost was ZERO!! Yay! Saturday was a nice lazy day until it was time to go to the NYE party at my brother's house. I made caramel corn and peanut butter cup bars, both of which I had ALL of the ingredients for already and didn't spend anything to make. Had a great time with family and friends at the party and came home on Sunday morning (we always spend the night, no reason to drive!) Sunday was an even more relaxing day than Saturday was and again we didn't do anything! I love days like that. We stayed home all day and watched football and movies, again a total spend free day! I like the start of this year so far! :) Monday we decided to go out and get some fresh air and go for a walk. We had to go to the gas station, ouch!, that was $67.00, but thankfully for me that will last about 3 weeks or a little more if I'm good about running errands in a thoughtful manner. Then we went to Starbucks and I added $25 to my prepaid card, but that will last me several weeks as this is now only a once a week treat for me. When we returned home I made dinner with ingredients we had on hand and it was delicious! Brought leftovers for lunch today and so far today, I've spent no money. We're going grocery shopping tonight, but it's BF's turn to buy the groceries, so it's going to be another no spend day for me!! AWESOME!

And I have about $40 coming in from surveys completed in late December, which will go straight to debt reduction. YAY!!

Current debt: $243,256.26 (looking forward to some payments hitting later this week!)