Monday, April 18, 2016

Making a plan to pay it off...

I've been pretty neglectful of my finances lately and by some miracle, the bottom line - my net worth has increased through no effort on my part.  The pure fact that my home value has increased is the one saving grace in this whole big picture.  About 6 months ago I transferred a chunk of credit card debt on to a 0% card hoping to pay it off before the interest started kicking in.  At the time I had decided to really focus on paying down my credit card that was charging interest and somewhere along the way I just stopped caring about either of them.  The 0% intro rate is going to expire in about 6 months and I really need to pay this off before the interest kicks in.  I have managed to keep the balance about the same on my interest charging card, so no progress there.  The balance on the 0% card is at just over $2300 and I vow to have this paid off by 12/31/16 at the VERY LATEST, hopefully sooner before any interest is charged.  I decided to really buckle down a couple weeks ago and looked at all of my expenditures, see where I could make cuts, how I could make extra money and what I could do to attack this balance.  I know, some of you might be saying, but shouldn't you focus on the debt charging you interest first?  Yes, I probably should, but seeing as how that card has a balance of $5900 and the other is only at $2200, I think the psychological boost from paying off one debt sooner is going to be worth it for me.  If I can see real progress being made, I think it will keep me motivated.  So, over the past week I made some calls, lowered my cell phone bill by about $20/month.  I sold several things on eBay and made about $100.  I have more items to list, but I didn't want to overwhelm myself. I also took stock of what is in our pantry and made a meal plan so that we can use up what we have before buying more or having to throw anything out because it went bad.  We are coming in to warmer weather so that means that we can turn the furnace off, luckily for us it doesn't get so warm that we need to use AC, so that will be a huge savings in the utilities.  Typically I try to make extra car payments to whittle that down too, but I've decided to focus on my debts in the following order:

1. April 2016 pay $2,000 annual loan payment to my parents. This will leave the balance at $2,000 - Final payment to be made April 2017.

2. Focus all extra funds to the Chase Freedom (ironic isn't it?!) Card that currently has a balance of $2344.56.  My goal is to have this paid down to ZERO before 12/31/16.

3. Next up will be my Visa card with a current balance of $5898.28.  UGH!  I have got to stop using this card for anything. 

4. My car loan will be my last debt, with the exception of my mortgage.  Car loan stands at $20,368.17 and I will make the minimum payment on that each month until the 3 previous debts are paid off and I can focus on the car loan.  The interest rate on it is less than 3%, so it's not one for me to fuss about too much.

5. As for my mortgage, it's for my condo that I am not even living in right now.  I keep watching the value of it increase and I have it rented out, but I'm just not sure I want to keep it and be a landlord. It's finally in a position that I am no longer underwater, but I'm so undecided as to what  I want to do, I'm not going to make any decisions at the moment.  I think I'll wait and see if my current tenant signs a new 1 year lease and worry about it then.  I have a few months to think about this one anyway.

I am now living only on cash and I have put the credit cards on ice making them hard to access for anything.  I'm also working on funding retirement and building up an emergency fund, but it all takes time.  And patience!  Which is something I am not big on!  :)  But I'm work on it. 

Current debt: $220,410.43.  (this includes the mortgage which is the biggest chunk!)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Absence does not make the heart grow fonder.... or the debt go away....

It's been well over a year since I last posted and in that time, I don't think my net worth has really increased at all.  The good news is, I don't think it's gone down either.  After 14+ years at the same job, I finally bit the bullet and quit, found a new job paying slightly less, but much closer to home and lots of great benefits.  When it was brought to our CEO's attention that the new health insurance was going to cost us more, he gave everyone a raise to cover it.  Then last month, we started getting an $8/day stipend for lunch that we could use at one of six local restaurants.  We just had reviews in which we all got a raise and stock options.  Can I say how happy I am that I finally made the leap to something new?!  It's not always good to stick with what is comfortable and dependable.  For me, this gamble (as I like to think of it!) really paid off.  I am now making more money than I was at my last job, I am appreciated, I get lunch paid for everyday and I love what I'm doing.  I never wake up feeling depressed about having to go in to work. 

Now the bad part....for this new position, I have to dress much more professionally so I did have to go out and buy new clothes.  BUT, I was smart and only bought a few things, mostly basic staples and then went thrift store shopping for the fun, quirky, one of a kind pieces.  I've been able to find lots of great items and now love getting dressed up for work. 

I did buy a new car last December, well not new, but new to me.  I found a great deal on an SUV which is what the BF and I have been wanting.  My commute is 3 miles daily, his is 43 each way, so it made much more sense for me to have the SUV than him.  I got a much better interest rate on the new car and so far I am loving it. 

Oh, one more thing, my office just put in an espresso machine that does over 100 different drinks at the push of a button.  I feel like I've gotten another raise just due to the decrease in my Starbucks stops as well.  I'm working on funneling that savings along with my raise into paying down my debt. 

I did have some pretty hefty medical bills last fall that I had to put on my credit cards, but I am no longer using the cards and paying them down as quickly as possible.  Any extra money I find, I am trying to put directly toward the debt.  I'll keep you posted on how it's going. 

Current debt total:  $220,230.31  (Nice to see it's gone down since last year, but not that much!)