Tuesday, December 30, 2014

End of 2014...start of 2015, where does the time go?

I'm having a hard time getting head around the fact that tomorrow is the last day of 2014 and the time is flying by.  This has been a great year and I'm hoping that 2015 is even better.  I've found love this year and life is looking bright.  I'm not 100% certain on my goals for 2015, and although I didn't reach all of my 2014 goals, I'm happy with the progress I did make.  I made my annual loan payment to my parents, and reduced my overall debt by over $10,000.  This next year I'm really going to try to reach that goal of at least $1,000/month. 

I pulled my annual credit report and was happy to see there was nothing unfamiliar on it and my credit score as 775, so I'm happy.   I will pull that again at this time next year and hope for an even higher number. 

This year saw a lot of changes for me.  I met a really great man and was surprised to fall in love.  In fact, we just moved in together about a month ago.  I was able to rent my condo out so that my mortgage and dues are covered in the rental income.  I no longer have cable and power bills, the BF is paying those in full.  He has 2 kids living with us so he is paying those while we each pay 1/2 the rent.  He also buys more of the groceries as they eat a significant amount more than I do.  I think I'll end up seeing an overall savings in my budget in the coming year.  It'll be interesting to see how this works out. 

Stay tuned for my debt reduction progress in 2015, may it be a year of great progress! 

Current debt total:  $222,355.77 (as compared to $232,900.01 on 12/31/13).  $10,544.24 paid off.  Woohoo!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This is what I've been up to...

I have been busy lately, I'm not sure why, but Fall is always busier for me than Summer.  Must be that school starts again, football season and I start getting ready for the holidays.  I've been doing my planning for the season, getting a few gifts already and even wrapped!  I have been planning what I am going to buy for members of my family and budgeting.  I've also started a new business that I am absolutely loving and thoroughly enjoying.  Have you heard of Jamberry Nail Wraps?  No?  Well, let me tell you about them.

Do your nails suffer from your nail-biting? Although Jamberry Nail Wraps don’t target a solution for that, it sure does help – and they look gorgeous!  What is Jamberry? Chic and stylish, long-lasting, nail wraps! I sell Jamberry nails and was so excited when my friend Melissa first told me all about them. I was hooked after my first Jamberry purchase and couldn't imagine not getting involved in selling them as opposed to just buying and wearing them. Jamberry nails didn’t just look adorable, but the price of Jamberry nails beat salon prices, and they last longer (up to 2 weeks on your nails and up to 6 weeks on your toes). I work full time in an office and warehouse, constantly shuffling papers and opening cardboard boxes, all while rocking flawless Jamberry nails. Aside from no chipped nails, I love that Jamberry nails never fade, they have amazing patterns and styles & I absolutely love them.
You to can show off your personality with over 300 styles.“Jamberry is a good way for girls to earn some free Jamberry too. You can host online Jamberry parties to earn free products and discounts,” . Check out Jamberry Nail Wraps on my website and learn to love your manicures and pedicures, not to mention having a fatter wallet. 
So, if you love having beautiful nails without the expense of a short lived manicure or pedicure, might I suggest you check out Jamberry Nails.  You won't be disappointed! 
If you are interested in hearing more about Jamberry Nails to be a consumer or a consultant, comment below and let me know if you'd like more information. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Busy, busy, busy...

I have been busily enjoying summer here in the great Pacific NW.  We've had fantastic weather and I've been enjoying it to the maximum.  And through the beauty of Facebook, I've reconnected with so many people and it's been fun to get out and meet up.  Through one long lost college friend, I've found a new business venture that I'm excited about.  Have you ever heard of Jamberry Nails?  The are super fun, heat activated wraps that decorate your nails in so many different ways.  There are fun and funky patterns, classic styles, sweet styles and beautiful solids in a variety of finishes.  So much fun!  If you've never seen them, check them out here.  I've never been one to try a direct sales business, but this one was very little to buy in and I was hooked on the product the first time I tried them. 

Current debt:  $225,160.84  (getting there!)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Where does the time go???

It’s hard for me to believe we are almost at the end of July and heading in to August.  So much going on and I’m really enjoying the summer sun.  I have 2 weddings to attend in August and thankfully I only have to buy a pair of shoes to wear for one.  The dresses I bought for each at a thrift store and I couldn’t be happier with either of them.  One I already had a pair of shoes for as well, so I only need to find one pair of shoes.  I also have a weekend out of town going to visit friends and the boyfriend’s birthday all in August.  Ooh, and my parent’s anniversary, it’s a big one this year too.  As I said, SO much going on!  Thankfully none of these are things that should be costing much money and I have had a little overtime lately, so I’ve been able to pay some extra on my car.  So far in July, I’ve made payments totaling $1052 and will hopefully be able to fit another $48 payment in there in order to round it out to an even $1100.  I’ve been taking advantage of the nice weather and spending a great deal of time at the pool at my condo, as well as working out in the gym.  Soon it’s going to be football season, which is just about my favorite time of year.  I have season tickets to a local college and love to go to the games.  I’ve even started a little of my holiday shopping, picking up things as I see them on sale and putting them away.  I’ve made good progress on my list and have come up with good ideas of what to look for, for other people I’ve not yet bought for. 


Lately I seem to be getting a lot of survey opportunities from Pinecone Research.  If you’ve never done surveys with them, check them out here.  I’ve never had a survey that I haven’t qualified for, I always get to do the survey and they pay the very next day!  You can let your point build to save up or you can cash out after each one and get paid $3 for each survey via PayPal.  I’ve also tested many products for them and been given ample supply to last me more than a day or so.  So far this year I’ve earned $ 937.40 doing online surveys.  Not too shabby!  I could be using this money to put towards my debt reduction or my annual loan payment to my parents, but instead I use it for me, just for fun!  Either shopping for some new clothes or going out to a movie, dinner or what have you, it’s my entertainment money.  I have several other survey sites on the right hand side of my blog and I’ve done pretty well with almost all of them.  Give ‘em a try, nothing ventured, nothing gained! 


Current debt:   $225,416.83 (going in the right direction, just wish it were going faster.) 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

1/2 the year is gone...

Where does the time go?  It's hard to believe we are halfway through 2014 and on the way to 2015.  I've made some really great progress in so many areas of my financial life and in my personal life so far this year. I'm excited to see what happens in the 2nd half of 2014, so far it's been one of my best years in a long, long time.  I wake up each morning happy with my life and look forward to seeing where it takes me going forward.  I've met a great guy and we've been together since almost the start of the year, I've made good progress in my debt reduction, could be better, but it's headed in the right direction.  And I've continued putting money away for my retirement, even finally starting to contribute again to my Roth IRA, it's been several years since I've been able to do that, so that feels really great!  Lately I've been enjoying a lot of vacation time, most spent at home and I must say, I've really enjoyed it.  Makes me think planning for retirement is EXTREMELY important and something I look forward to enjoying. 

2nd half of 2014

It's so hard for me to believe that we've hit the halfway point of the year and are on the downhill side of 2014.  Seems like it was just Christmas and New Years.  Sheesh!  Where does the time go?  I'm feeling pretty good about where I stand with the first half of the year, but I'd be happier with greater debt reduction, but don't I always feel this way?  I'm excited to see the value of my home increasing and I'm within reach of treading water, no longer drowning in what I owe v. what it's worth.  YAY!  I'm working on getting the car loan down as quick as possible too and am working diligently to keep my expenses down and my income up.  All overtime was shut down at my work, but I still managed to get a little in here and there.  It's not much, but I've always tried not to live on  my paycheck with overtime and use that windfall towards debt reduction.  Since it's stopped, debt reduction has slowed, but the little bit I've had lately is going straight to paying that car note down.  Slowly but surely getting there.  I've also been little Suzy Homemaker lately cooking from scratch and doing things myself that in the past I've paid people to do.  Silly really!  All in all, it seems to be paying off, which is exactly what I'm doing to my debt balance!  Woohoo!

Midway point in the year!!

Current debt balance:  $226,404.00  (long way to get it under $200,000, but looking better all the time!) 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

$5,529.25 paid off so far...

in 2014.  This is less than I was hoping for, but I guess it could be worse.  I've managed to maintain a zero balance on my credit card and have paid an average of $921.54/month, but oh how I wish that was at least $1,000/month.  I guess I have something to strive for the second half of this year.  Of course, this could still go down a bit by the end of the month bringing that average up.  How are you all doing on your debt reduction? 

Debt balance:  $226,787.62  (really hoping this can be under $220K by 1/1/15)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Just a little rant.....

Ever have one of those days when you are so frustrated with the whole thing and just want to give up?  Yep, me too. In fact, I am having one of those months.  I feel like I'm constantly spinning my wheels, 1 step forward, 1 step back, which I guess is better than 1 step forward, 2 steps back, but still.  Will this debt monster ever be gone?  I've been taking some vacation time lately, just sticking around home and I must say, I've loved the time off.  I can't imagine how wonderful being retired someday will be.  Having this time off has reminded me that I must continue to save for that lovely occasion and with discipline, I will get there.  Ugh!  Just doesn't seem like it at the moment.  I'm so upside down in my condo, like most everyone else, but I just can't let myself be one of those people that walks away from the responsibility of it.  Sometimes I wish I could.  I feel like I never have enough money for any extras and I know it could be worse, but it doesn't feel like it at the moment.  I guess I'm just having a little pity party for one right now.  That's all...disregard this rant and I'll try to post something more positive next time.  Thanks! 

Current debt:  $227,337.05  (seems like this is SO slowly going down!) 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Zippity doo dah...

Payday is tomorrow and I still have $50 in my checking account.  I certainly did not think that would happen.   I thought for sure I'd been down to the bare bones, few pennies left in the checking account by today.  I've figured out all of my bills to be paid with this check and I'm happy to report that there is still a hefty amount left in the account until the next payday.  Yay!  I'd love to make additional payments on some things, but I don't want to jump the gun and end up scraping by for the next couple weeks. 

Unfortunately not a lot will change with the total debt reduction because most of these bills are just my basic day to days, but at least they are all paid and I have some mad money left. Knowing me though, it'll drive me nuts not to pay something to debt, so I'll probably end up doing that before the next payday. 

I have a couple of vacation days coming up with not much really planned.  I'm looking forward to taking it easy for a couple days and seeing what pops up.  I do have a few plans, nothing major, but one I'm really looking forward to and dreading at the same time is meeting with my financial planner.  I have a love/hate relationship with this.  I love the idea of having finances to plan with, but am disappointed that I don't have them.  I'm getting better though at not overspending and making frivolous spending decisions.  Baby steps, baby steps.  As far as finances go, I'm diligently putting away the full match each year in to my 403(b) plan from work and I have a small pension coming from a previous job.  It's been years since I've been able to contribute to my Roth and I think it's time that changed.  I'm going to talk to him tomorrow about making this a bill to myself each month and see what happens with that.  I keep saying I'll do it when my debt is paid off...well news flash, that never seems to happen.  This time, I'm going to make it a bill I pay and force myself to do it.  The nice thing is, IF I really needed that money in my Roth, I could take it out at any time as long as I don't touch any of the interest.  It's my intention not to touch any of this money until retirement though and so far I've not touched any of my retirement money and I hope to keep it that way. 

Other than that, not too much going on here.  I found out that both my mortgage payment and my insurance payment are each going to be dropping by about $11/month, so I will reallocate that money to my car loan.  thankfully I have no credit card debt and the only other debt is the loan from my parents who won't take more than 1 payment/year and then my mortgage.  While the interest is slightly higher on my mortgage than it is on my car loan, the car loan will be paid off much sooner, so that's where any and all extra money is going to currently go. 

Hope you're all enjoying the May flowers after all the April rain. 

Current debt total:  $227,478.73  (slowly dropping!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bills are all paid, but there's not much left...

in the checking account until the next payday on May 9th.  Oh well, at least I have plenty of food and the gas tank is full.  Shouldn't have too many expenses between now and then.  I'm actually looking forward to seeing what my bills look like for next month.  Several of them should be going down.  My insurance premium and my mortgage payment should have fairly significant reductions.  Woohoo!  And I have some extra money coming in as well.  I love it when that happens.  I was first thinking that I'd put it toward my car loan, but I think I will actually put this extra money in my savings for now, I need to bulk that back up after making my loan payment to my parents.  I have items selling on eBay right now as well so that should help beef up the savings account as well.  Not too much else going on around here, finally getting some nice weather and getting out and enjoying that.  Hope all is well in your world...

Current debt:  $227,772.32 (hasn't budged since the last post!) 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Annual loan payment made...

Yay!  I've made my 7th of 10 annual loan payments to my parents.  Woohoo!  Only 3 more payments left.  While it's hard to take that money out of my savings each April to make my loan payment, it feels so good to see the balance to them drastically reduce.  I've set up my direct deposit from work to put this money away throughout the year so that I can always have the money there when the payment is due, but it'll be so nice in 3 more years to not have to deplete the savings to make the payment.  I've also recently sold several items on eBay and have made a fair amount, not to mention cleaning out clutter.  Love that feeling! 

Other than that, not too much going on around here, just enjoying the nicer weather we are starting to have.  It's great to finally be able to turn the heat down and know I'm saving money there too.  I hope you're all having a fabulous spring and enjoying the weather. 

Current debt:  $227.772.32  (YAY!  Well under $230K!!) 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

1st quarter of 2014 is almost complete...

WOW!  Where has the first quarter of the year gone?  Time certainly does fly! And it goes quicker and quicker as the years go by.  So far this year I've managed to get my savings built up to with the amount needed to make my annual loan payment to my parents at the end of April.  YAY!  And it's earlier than I thought I'd have it.  I'm working on getting the savings account built up with a cushion and then getting back to plowing through the existing debt.  For the month of April, I am putting myself on a spending hiatus for anything unnecessary and using up things I have around here prior to buying more.  I currently have a credit card balance of about $500 that I acquired by spending unnecessarily and I'm going to ban myself from doing that for the month of April.   Should be an interesting month, it'll be great to see how it goes.  I've sold a few things I had around the house that I didn't need or want and I feel good about clearing stuff out and making some money on these things.  I know there is a lot more that I can list on eBay and sell, I just need to get motivated to do it. 

I've been in a relationship with a guy I met through Match.com for about 3 months now and things are going SO well.  I really had given up hope of meeting someone and this guy has totally proven me wrong, there are some great ones still out there. He has custody of his 2 teenage kids and so we've not been able to spend much time together other than weekends until now, but in a couple weeks they will be going to spend their spring break with their mom and we're looking forward to spending a lot of time together during that time.  We seem to be on the same page in regards to religion, finances and politics and we have similar sense of humors and really enjoy our time together.  I think we've both been surprised by how great a match we seem to be and how well things are going.  It's fun and exciting to see where this goes. 

That's about all that I have to report for now. I hope you're all having a great start to spring.  I know I am. :) 

Current debt:  $230,352.66  (looking forward to this dropping a fair amount next month with my loan payment to my parents.) 

Friday, March 14, 2014

That was a long 2 weeks....

from the last payday until today, but I made it.  I did have to pull out the credit card a couple of times for small expenses, but all in all, not too bad.  I didn't have to buy groceries, I had plenty on hand to get me through.  It's a good feeling to know that when push comes to shove, I can make it through on very little cash if need be.  In fact, my pantry hardly has a dent in it.  I'm sure I could go for quite awhile still without having to shop other than for perishables and even then, I have a lot of that in my freezer, so I could get by, it might just get a little boring with meals.  Weighing it out though, I think I'd prefer boring meals to putting myself further in debt.  Anyway, not too much else going on here, just wanted to check in.

Current debt:  $230,390.56 (this is SO CLOSE to being under $230K!!) 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bringing in some extra money...

As I've said before, I am working really hard to get my debt paid off as quickly as possible, with maybe the exception of my mortgage. And the reason I say possibly the exception of my mortgage is that I'm not sure how long I want to stay here.  Once my car loan and the loan to my parents are paid off, I'll be continuing to pay my mortgage, but not at an accelerated rate the way I had thought.  I think I'll re-evaluate as I get closer to having the other debts paid off and see where I'm at.  Anyway, this is to say that I'm working on listing items for sale on eBay again and it feels great to clean things out and make some money while doing so.  I've also listed some items for my sister in law that she pays me a commission to sell for her.  Woohoo!  All extra money goes to debts.  Things are still really tight this week, until Friday when it's finally payday again.  Other than that, not too much going on, just plugging away and waiting for spring!! 

Current debt total:  $230,658.88 (this should look much better on Saturday after payments hit this coming Friday!) 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Things are going to be tight....

for the next 2 weeks.  Tomorrow is payday and my mortgage payment is also due.  I didn't have any overtime on this paycheck therefore it's going to be a little tight in the next couple weeks.  I guess this is when I am happy that I do a lot of shopping and stocking up when things are on sale and I have a great stockpile of food.  This weekend is my birthday, so I don't think I'll be spending much money and I think the next 2 weeks should be fairly inexpensive, all my bills are paid up to date and I have enough food to last me through. 

What do you do when funds get a little tight?  Do you pull out your credit card or do you try to make it by without using the card or dipping in to savings?  I'm trying to get through with spending as little as possible.  I think I'll be able to do it, the only really expense I might have will be gas for my car.  Otherwise, things are looking good. 

Current debt:  $230,950.28  (looking forward to more progress in March!) 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Almost March and my spending is in check...

I can't believe that it is almost March already, where have the first 2 months of the year gone?  I'm doing really well having as many No Spend Days as possible, trying to keep it to at least 50% each month. January I had 17 and so far for February I've had 14.  Yay for small successes.  :) 

I've brought my debt total to under $231,000, but just barely.  I don't think I'll have much opportunity to reduce it anymore in the next 3 days, but if I can squeeze any additional payments in, I will.  At least I've got all my bills paid for the month and was able to make more payments to debt than I thought I would.  My birthday is coming up at the end of the week as well, so hopefully I will be able to use some birthday funds to put toward debt reduction. 

Not much to report really from here, but since I'd made a bit more progress, I thought I'd post about it. 

Current debt total:  $230,976.30  (slowly getting there...)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A breakdown of debts...

I was asked in a previous post what the breakdown of my debts are to bring that grand total up so high...well, here you go! 

Loan to parents:    $8,000.00  (soon to be $6,000)
Car Loan:            $27,509.47
Mortgage:         $195,496.40

Bringing the grand total up to $231,005.87!  OUCH!  As you can see, most of it is the mortgage which is a long term loan and the others should be paid off in the next couple years.  I'm hoping to pay off the loan to my folks within the next 3 years tops.  The car, I just keep throwing any and all extra money to it to get that one taken care of.  Otherwise, I'm just plugging away and trying to save money for retirement as well as reduce debt. 

How about you?  Would you care to share the breakdown of your debts? 

Current debt:  $231,005.87  (yep, no change since I typed it up above in the body of the post!)  :) 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Plugging away....

Not too much going on here these days, just trying to keep reducing the debt total and not spend unnecessarily.  I have been pretty good with my grocery shopping and am doing fairly well at stocking up on sale items without buying unneeded items.  I've been trying to coupon as much as possible lately and have even been able to donate several items to the women's shelter.  When I can buy toothpaste for $0.25 or free, I like to get as many as I can and donate them.  I have my credit card paid down to ZERO and am working like mad to get that $2,000 saved up to make my annual loan payment to my parents.  After that I can really attack the car loan which I've managed to reduce over $2,000 since refinancing it in late November.  I'm currently ahead on payments to the point where my next payment is not really due until May 9th, however we all know I won't wait that long to make my next payment.  More likely than not, I will be making another payment before the end of February.  :)  I just love to see that number continue to plummet!  Tax refund has been received and is now sitting in my savings account waiting for the end of April when I write my parents the loan payment.  After that I will only have 3 more years of payments to them.  Can't wait to have that one done.  Like I said though, not too much going on around here.  This is my least favorite time of year and I find that I tend to hibernate, so there isn't much to report.  Looking forward to spring coming. 

Current debt:  $231,005.87 (almost down under $231,000!!) 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

End of the month already...

It's hard to believe we are already to the end of January!  If all of 2014 goes this fast, it'll be the holidays in the blink of an eye.  For all intents and purposes my financial month is over.  I've paid all my bills and so far so good.  I've reduced my overall debt by $1,141.08.  I wish it were more, but I had my football season ticket renewal come up, so I'm expecting that future months will show a greater decrease going forward.  Not much else to report from here...looking forward to a great weekend with the BF and family. 


Current debt:  $231,758.93 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Unexpected expenses...

Ugh! Unexpected expenses are the worst!  OK, well not the absolute worst, but they sure do hurt when you don't have an adequate emergency savings.  Worse than unexpected expenses happened to me last week.  My 96 year old Grandma fell 2 weeks ago and broke her hip.  She was in good health for the most part and was still pretty active, so they opted to replace the hip.  Unfortunately, that was the beginning of the end for her.  She contracted pneumonia and MRSA after her surgery and never fully came back to us.  My Grandma lived out of state, so my parents went to be with her while she recovered from surgery and stayed until the funeral was held and her apartment completely cleared out.  I went to the funeral which would not have been possible had it not been for the generosity of my parents using their miles to fly me there and paying for the hotel.  What a horrible position to be in, 41 years old and not able to handle something like this because I've not properly prepared for any emergency.  This was a huge eye opener for me that it's time to take the Emergency Fund more seriously and get on with it.  While I'm still working on paying my debt, I need to also be building a emergency fund so that when an emergency arises, I can handle it and not put myself further in the hole. 

Thank you Lord for my amazing parents last week! 

Current debt:  $231,758.91  (this is still going down, but may move a little slower for a bit while I build up my savings!) 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2013 taxes are filed and I will be receiving a small refund...

of $377.  Had I not had so many medical expenses last year, my tax payments would have been pretty close to dead on and I would have received a refund of less than $30.  I'm really happy with the way that my refund came out this year.  I'm perfectly happy with coming out about dead even, that means that I'm not letting the government use my money interest free for the year.  And I don't have to pay them which means I'm going to keep my deductions the same for the next year and hope for the best again next year.  I'm wondering how long it will take for my refund to end up in my account.  I think I'll use it to reduce my car loan debt even more and get that darn thing paid off sooner. 

I'm also participating in the 52 Week Money Challenge this year, although I've decided to do it in reverse order of what you see here.  I'll be depositing this money in to a different savings account to do something fun or frivolous with at the end of the year, or maybe I'll use it to add to my Roth IRA.  Either way, I think by doing this in the reverse order I will get the higher deposit weeks out of the way earlier and I will be earning interest on greater amounts of money for a longer period of time.  Anyone else doing this or ever heard of it? 

I guess that's all for now.  Have a great weekend!!

Current debt:  $232,234.94

Friday, January 10, 2014

10 Days in to the New Year and...

so far, I'm doing really well on not over spending.  I've been cooking at home and bringing my lunch to work.  Trying to have as many "NO SPEND" days as possible and doing what I can to cut costs.  I have a few more things left to do to really make an impact, but I've made really good progress.  That being said, I've also been trying to get out and experience more things in my own neighborhood.  Staying on a budget and paying off debt doesn't mean you have to stop living.  In fact, I think it's made me find more things to do that are free or less expensive than when I've had more money, or thought I had more money to spend.  (which would be why I now have debt to pay off!) 

I've had 7 days in which I've not spent any money and 3 days in which I've not driven anywhere.  I've spent some great days at home taking care of projects that I've been meaning to do for quite some time.  I've cleaned out closets and cupboards, made some donations to Salvation Army which will help come tax time next year.  I've spent a lot of time on my budget and tweaking where I can and looking for ways to save even more.  I've been reading cookbooks for easy meals for one.  I've really cut back on my diet Coke habit, I'm down to 1 per day and I've been drinking lots of water.  I'm amazed at the difference in my skin and how I feel.  I still like diet Coke and don't plan to give it up completely, but I have to say, that one per day TASTES so much better than when I was drinking 6.  Better for my body and better for my wallet!  :)

That's all for now. 

Current debt:  $232,316.87  (getting there...)