Category Archives: Debt Diary

Bam! I am the Debt Eliminator! Hear me roar!

I was blessed with both a paycheck (I get mine monthly) and my income tax refund on the same day. Can you say balla?! I can. Of course I spoiled myself and treated myself to some goodies … which I’ll talk about in an upcoming post. But I also successfully landed $1,000 on my big credit card. Yep. You read that right. 1K went right to eliminating debt on my credit card that used to hold a balance of $4,200 this past August.

I’ve made phenomenal headway and am currently balancing my Debt Diary so that I can fully assess where February has taken me and  to get back on the wagon of regularly schedule payments to my big credit card. I do have some major purchases coming up in May and June … primarily car registration which runs about $106 and also my city sticker for Chicago and parking permit which is like $85. Gah! But hopefully if all goes as planned, I can be free of my biggest credit card by May. Wouldn’t that be sweet? And just because this made me smile today:

Weekly Money Check-Up: Week of Feb. 14th

I’m participating in the Weekly Money Check-Up, compliments of  My Pretty Pennies. Let’s see how this week has been broken down:

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on - A $55 shopping spree to Target. I mean really….I walked into the store with the hopes of just browsing and before I knew it, I was rummaging through all the Valentines clearance. I did score a really cute plastic plate set and cups and some munchies for my lunches and stuff.

2. Today I feel tired towards money. I’m waiting, patiently, for my federal income tax refund which wasn’t accepted until February 14th. It’s tentatively scheduled to hit my checking account on February 25th which is also payday. So, I’m broke until payday in which I’ll gloriously be swimming in cash until I snap out of it and pay my bills for the month. I just want to get my big credit card down and the IRS payment plus the planned payment from my pay check will really help.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was Met with my Alpha Chi Omega Advisory Board sisters for a meeting. It was long, but fun and sometimes just talking about the sorority helps take me to a happy place where I live and breathe Alpha Chi Omega.

4. I will consider this week a success if I Get through it and don’t spend every single last penny that I own!

5. This Valentine’s Day I just had an a-okay day. Wasn’t sad that I didn’t have any one and instead spread the love and gave my co-workers candy and little Valentines. Did receive some bad news on the job hunt front, but bounced right back and am doing just fine.

Debt Diary Re-Cap

If you’ve noticed, I keep track of all my finances on that page up there called the Debt Diary. You can see where I’ve been and where I’m at … if I’m doing well or if I’ve slacked off during a month or not. Since I’ve started tracking my expenses and major unsecured debt on August 3, 2010, I’ve been able to successfully pay off a little over $9,000 towards my debt. That’s amazing especially considering that some of the debt (like the credit cards) have balances that creep back up a bit due to interest accumulated during the month. So what am I focusing on and what am I not too worried about?

Well, since I’ve decided to walk away from my condo, I’m focusing on eliminating all of my credit card and personal loan debt so that I have more money to work with when I finally leave the condo. I’m trying to do a good job on the credit cards first because they have my highest interest rates at 19.99 % and 14 % respectively. The highest balance card I have is at $2,630 balance with the 19.99% rate until about June (I negotiated it down for 1 year from 29.99%!). The 2 personal loans I have are both from debt consolidation and 1 has a very high balance of about $6,700 and the other is at about $3,200. It’s sad because the highest balance I used to pay off credit cards about 2 years ago and now I’m paying off credit cards AND  a high balance loan. Learn people. Learn from my mistakes!

Right now I am shoveling most of my free money towards the biggest credit card which I started with a maxed out balance of $4,200. The card now has a balance of $2,630 and with my income tax refund, I hope to drop it down to $2,100 before my next pay day at the end of February, and to $1,600 on my next pay day. From there I pay a tad bit higher than the minimum payment on my next credit card which is $37 but I pay $50 every month. The payment on my two loans is $299.65 and $205 respectively, of which I pay $300 and $210 usually. Peanuts. But whatev. My car payment stays the same and I usually round that out at $347 a month since its a little less than $347. And my student loans are ridiculous at about $391 combined a month. Ah, the cost of a private university education!

My goal is to have my credit cards paid off as fast as possible so that I can start focusing on my personal loans which are a guaranteed payment of $500 every month. Freeing up that money would help me live easier with more breathing room, allow me to save money, and to also pay off my car and student loans faster. But I think I’ve been making great progress and am excited to see what my finances look like after February is up!

Debt Be-Gone

You ever wish that you had a little squirter of Debt-Be-Gone that you could magically spray all over your bills?

Seriously. I should invent that stuff. Anyways, I’ve been trying to pay down my debt religiously. I’ve been methodical, neurotic, diligent. I’ve been preparing myself and saying g-bye to all those loser creditors that so willingly provided me with loans and credit cards. [You suck] Last September I took out a $10,000 loan to cover my debt. I wanted to do a debt consolidation loan so that I could pay off the big lump in 1 low monthly payment under a much smaller [teeny-tiny] APR rate. Slick over here (aka me) decided to rack up credit card bills after getting the loan. So in addition to the debt consolidation loan and other personal loan … I racked up my credit cards and could barely keep my head above water.


I’ve since given 6 of my 8 credit cards the big kiss-off ::::kiss:::: and said “See ya later Chuck!” I’m currently balancing 1 high balance credit card and 1 medium balance one along with the 2 loans. Well today kids, I reached a pinnacle of success…I am now below $7,000 on my debt consolidation loan! Hells. Yes.  (Surely you understand that I’ve blocked out my last name and account number as to not get highjacked or my identity stolen. It’s precious. My identity, that is)

Yep, that monster of a $10,000 loan is now sittin pretty at $6,914 and some change. It’s exciting. It really makes me feel like I’m making a dent in my bills. Have any of you celebrated some small victories recently?

Weekly Money Check-Up: Nov. 28-Dec.4

I’ve been trying to keep up with the gals from Paying Myself and My Pretty Pennies to track my weekly spending via the Weekly Money Check-Up.  Hopefully, I’ll continue to hold myself accountable and think weekly (and not daily so I don’t shoot myself with stress) over my spending habits.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on ugh. Um, well I did the majority of my Christmas shopping. So, probably a $70 trip to Target? I’ve realized that most of my holiday spending has been spent at Target. Holiday sales? About 2 different stores each about a 5 minute drive from home? Hmmm…

2. Today I feel blah towards money.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was visited a friend in the suburbs and had a movie, cookie making, pizza eating night. It was fun and stress free!

4. I will consider this week a success if I stick to the budget for the week and make ZERO unnecessary purchases! And, make it to the gym at least 3x’s, unlike last week’s failure. Boo :(

5. I am afraid of going over budget for Christmas gifts. Do you ever get scared of over-buying?

Christmas On A Budget

In light of the financial issues that I’ve been faced with this year, I want to still be able to give meaningful gifts to my friends and family for the holidays. I have $100 worth of $/bonus points saved up from my checking account that I’ll cash out sometime in December, and I’m planning on putting aside $150 extra for gifts. It will not be an extravagant holiday season for my gift-giving and I’m kinda bummed that I can’t provide tons of fun stuff for people, especially my nephew. I get my next paycheck this Friday but then don’t get paid again until December 24th and I doubt that any banks or other places are open on Christmas Eve … well, I know retail outlets probably are. And, that’ll be a madhouse anyways.

Here’s my “to-buy for” list:

  1. Mom
  2. Dad
  3. Grandma J
  4. Grandma M
  5. Grandpa
  6. Samantha
  7. Caiden
  8. JP
  9. Co-workers (team members) aka. small gift

I already spotted my dad’s gift this past weekend, which is $30 but is a banner of the “Original 6″ hockey clubs. It was really cool and I think he’ll love it. I already stocked up on some small items for Caiden and my sister wants me to get him a savings bond also, so I’ll be out trying to get one of those. My grandparents will all get smaller gifts because they don’t really “need” nor “want” anything anything. JP and I put a $25 cap on our gifts to each other, and my team will get some tiny items, probably candy or lotion or something.

I think one of the most important thing to keep in mind is a budget. Know what you can spend and stick to it. Many times, we can get overwhelmed and slightly consumed by the euphoria that surrounds shopping, especially during the holiday seasons. But the disappointment, guilt and credit card bills that are left in the aftermath can take months to recover. No one wants that, and I can bet anything that your family doesn’t want that for you either.

If you’re exchanging gifts with friends, set a cash limit, or plan a group activity that doesn’t need to be an actual “gift” such as a nice dinner out, girls-night, bowling, wine exchange, etc. If you set the bar, your friends will follow in your lead. Pre-plan major purchases. If you’re on the search for the “in-item” of the year for your niece, nephew, child, etc….use the few months before the holidays to start pricing and shopping … and saving, if necessary. You don’t want to be stuck paying out the wah-zoo (yeah, I went there) for something last-minute that you can’t really afford anyways.

My main advice is to just be smart. There’s no use trying to win everyone over with lavish gifts. Mostly, they just want to share time with you and see you happy as well. Enjoy good food and great conversation. Make new memories! And be creative with gifts and activities that are more meaningful than costly. Happy Holidays!

Weekly Money Diary: Nov. 14-20

Borrowed from a fellow blogger Paying Myself, who writes a personal finance blog (my second obsession next to home improvement/DIY blogs), I will be writing a brief update every week on my financials for that particular week. Hopefully this will keep my mind in check before heading into the weekend and will provide a clear reference on where my cash has been going.  This will not substitute for my regular, daily posts.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on food. I went out to eat on Monday night and then bought some drinks last night. I’ve also been a bad girl and have been purchasing my lunch at my work’s cafeteria instead of bringing my lunch. Bad girl.

2. Today I feel anxious towards money. I’m ready to start making real dents in my bills and also scared at what March/April will bring to the future of my wallet.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was read my book while in bed. I haven’t done much activity this week, but I do find it relaxing to curl up with my book before bed. Now, if I can just get a soaker tub to go with that good book …

4. I will consider this week a success if I stay within my budget and do not over spend my allotted weekly money.

5. I am afraid of demolishing my credit due to foreclosure.