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Viewing the 'Credit Card Hell' Category

Updated Quicken

November 22nd, 2006 at 05:05 pm

I finally went through last night and cleared out all the accounts I had set up in Quicken that I didn't need anymore. Car loans that had been paid off, checking accounts that I don't have anymore but still showed a balance, etc. Then I set up a new Debt Reduction Plan. I'm ignoring their suggestion of how to pay it off because they want me to pay off the loan that is .2 higher percentage than my credit cards. Fact is, the loan is fixed the credit cards aren't so personally I want to pay off the credit cards.

I reworked their payoff plan to match my Three Phase Plan as far as order of payoff goes. I did not set it up with the extra money that I'm expecting simply because I wanted a worst case senario, if push comes to shove and I have to scale things down, what does that look like. Even scaled down it shows me as being consumer debt free by 10/2010. Since my current goal is 4/2010 it makes me realize it's not totally unrealistic.

I can't wait for the totals to update each month and have Quicken update its plan based on how much I actually pay.

It's also interesting to compare where they say I will be with CC1 by 4/2010 and where I say I'll be. See, when I figure it manually, I assume that interest payment will stay the same. I know that's not true but it's just easiest to figure. That's also why my projected balance goes down every month because I recalculate based on the recent statement. They actually adjust for interest going down. Their projected balance for CC1 is about $3k less than mine.

And even when I shift into Phase Two and put money into my EF instead of CC's, my actual payment amount is more than I told Quicken. Simply because I didn't include my step brother's monthly payment because it's a temporary thing.

I'm a geek. I like charts and graphs and seeing how much of a difference a little extra here and there makes. I can't wait for next month to see the new projected figures.

Looking to the future and slightly starting to panic.

November 21st, 2006 at 09:47 pm

Looking at my budget last night I realized that I am on paper always at -$80 every month. This doesn't really show up because my on paper budget is based on the amount I was getting before I dropped my 401k down from 8% to 3% and before I changed my withholdings from 1 to 2. I actually balance out right now. Come January I will be moving my withholdings back to 1 because this was the first year of testing my theory on how to basically not get a refund but also not owe on taxes. On the one hand, I know I'll be ok because of how my pay/budget plays out (on the 5th there's always extra money from being on call, and on the 20th I always hold out money for things that I can't pay for all of out of the 5th) but on the other I don't know what my new 'pay' will be until January 20. I don't like those kinds of unknowns.

Of course the other potential bright side to this is we get yearly evaluations and raises in January so there's the possibility that my raise will have kicked in by then. But still. It makes for a long hard look at my budget. Fortunately I really do have some wiggle room as what I pay on some things is more than required so for a couple months I could get by. Plus I do have extra money coming in, at least $25/wk from one job and an as yet unknown other weekly amount. But I don't want to stop the momentum.

I splurged on some tea yesterday. I love rooibus (sp?) tea. It's not caffinated (I'm supposed to avoid caffiene) and has a very nice flavor. A friend of mine gave me a $5 off gift cert for an online tea company and I bought their sampler pack. I have a loose leaf teapot waiting to be purchased at Amazon for when I get my next $20 Amazon gc. But in the meantime, the tea's on it's way. It came to $9.75 and came out of my 'Personal' money.

I met a friend for breakfast today. I went low key (and healthy) and got oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar, soy milk all mixed together and a couple slices of apple and banana on top. It was only $4. I had water to drink and left a dollar tip. After grocery shopping yesterday and eating out a couple of times already I have $57 left to last til the 5th. Next shopping trip list has already been started but nothing is necessary yet so I'm going to go on Saturday. Although, I am picking up Papa Murphy's pizza for potluck tonight, that'll be $7 and will come out of my grocery budget.

I'm not preparing Thanksgiving Dinner. I am bringing a dish though, the ingredients that I needed were picked up last night. I'm hoping there'll be some leftovers I can come back home with (of my own dish that is). If not, that's ok too. Small price to pay for Thanksgiving Dinner.

I filled up on gas and have $17 left over as well. We'll see how long the tank lasts. I am going to just wait til it gets to half (really 3/4ths the way my tank works) and put the rest in at that point. The way gas is going up it'll probably take it all. But I don't have much by way of long distance driving to do for a while at least.

I picked up the yummiest bread. I'm working really hard at exercising and eating healthy with the overall intent to loose weight but that's not the direct motivation. Someone mentioned that sprouted wheat bread is better so when I was at Trader Joe's I picked some up. It's only 90 calories, .5 gram of fat, and 2 grams of fiber per slice. It is heavy but it doesn't taste nasty like I've experienced before. And it costs about the same as the other Sara Lee Delightfuls bread I was getting before. It's twice as many calories but the rest of the numbers are the same. And according to http://www.traineo.com I'm not eating all the calories I should be anyway.

I'm really curious to see what my numbers look like at the end of the month. So I'm waiting with baited breathe to be able to post new numbers. It's all a waiting game for me. I wait for the next paycheck. I wait for the next Tuesday Deposit. I wait for the end of the month. So I guess technically next I'm waiting for another Tuesday Deposit.

I dropped $161 into my bank account today. $10 for something I'll be paying for for the beachhouse trip and $151 for CC2. I actually made the payment for $153 because when all was said and done there was $22 and change left in my bank account and I like to just leave a $20 and change cushion. I requested the dividend check from CC2 today so I should see it potentially by the end of next week, definately the first week in December. I'm going to laugh if CC2 is completely paid off by the time I get my hands on that check.

The tides shift, both good and bad.

November 20th, 2006 at 03:49 am

Ok so I didn't have enough gas to make it til tomorrow. So I relented and broke into the cash waiting to be deposited on Tuesday for CC2 and put $10 in. I haven't decided if I'm going to take $10 out of the gas budget and put it back in the Tuesday Deposit box or not.

I talked to a gal tonight who's kids I watched (in part) during the short Monday night stint. She is continuing on with the Monday night meetings and will be needing a sitter. We haven't worked out pay yet, I honestly have no idea how much to charge. For two kids, 3 and under, I get $30 regardless of time if I have to put them to bed. If they're already in bed I get $20. I don't really care, I figure I'm doing my friends a service and just let them pay me whatever.

However this situation is a little different. It's three kids between the ages of 5 and 10. I'll be putting them to bed at some point, don't know about dinner. Probably will be there for about 3.5 hours. I told the mom that whatever they decided would be fine. She laughed and said she said the same thing when she was in my position and now the tables are turned. They only paid $10 for the sitting when I was doing it, because it was organized through church and their scale was $5/kid or $10/family. But I actually got $25 for the night. And the distance wasn't that great that I had to travel. They are set for this week but will need me for sure next week. We'll just play by ear. I'm just happy to have a new source of income, however slight it might be.

My brother paid me $50 so once I can pull that out of his account (I'm a co-owner of his savings account) I think my weekly deposit total is: $151. I'm quite pleased with that bite taken out of CC2.

Three Phase Plan, November update.

November 18th, 2006 at 06:11 pm

Phase One. Eliminate CC2.

Statement balance difference: -$398.71
Total Payments: $650.00
Total charges and fees: $251.22

The charges were expected and extra was paid from EF to cover them. I expect that the New estimated payoff date will actually be correct. I am hoping to pay the entire balance off before the next statement, but there'll still be a little interest that had acrued so it will be January before I see a $0 balance.

Prior estimated payoff date: 3/20/2006
New estimated payoff date: 1/20/2006

Phase Two. Build up EF to $1,000

Between the three accounts, taking out the expected expenses and adding in regular budget amounts my savings has decreased by $177.96. However I'm not that dissapointed in that number considering I spent $273 so it's bouncing back nicely.

Phase Three. Pay off as much of CC1 as possible by 4/15/2010.

Statement balance difference: -$317.08
Total payments: $523
Total charges and fees: $205.92

I am no longer using CC1 to pay bills.

Previous potential balance by 4/15/2010: $6,665.47
New potential balance by 4/15/2010: $6,096.99

Only $1,309.74 to go before things get back to normal on this card.

---

CC2 update.

This week so far I have the following in hand:

30.00 friend paying me back for something
26.00 Certified check
30.00 babysitting
-----
86.00 Confirmed payment

25.00 Childcare on Sunday
60.00 Brother making a payment
-----
85.00 Potential

171.00 Possible payment. This makes me Very Happy since the balance is about $258.

I will be requesting a dividend check for $58.39 on Monday. But I don't kow how long that will take to get here.

---

Old habits die hard. Today we're supposed to all get together to celebrate our birthdays. All four of us were born in November. Plus one of my SIL's has an October birthday that I missed. Well, SIL's debit card number got stolen and $500 was charged to it before it was caught. Then Brother P's check was $300 less than they were expecting. They get paid weekly. They bought a house this past year that's about 50 miles one way into town. So it's quite a hike for them to come. So they won't be joining us. Then I talked to Step Bro and they're not doing so hot either, but they're still coming. Other Brother is the one I've been bailing out recently so I know he's not doing the best, but he did just get paid so he's ok right now. All told, I'm the most financially stable of the four of us. So this morning the thought entered my head, I'll just pick up lunch for everyone. Which of course, means charging it. Then I stopped, stepped back and realized, that's part of the reason I'm in debt to begin with. Not the entire reason, but definately a good chunk. I will Not be doing that after all. I have $12 in my wallet for lunch (I pulled the $7 out of the dollar jar to make it be $12), shouldn't be a problem since I always drink water and I know I can find something on Red Robins menu that after tip won't be more than $12. I will probably be going out to lunch tomorrow after church. I have $7 in my bank account that should do nicely if the occasion arises. If it doesn't, I'll go home and eat. I'm meeting someone for coffee today and I'm going to suggest Starbucks because I have a $5 gc for there. I get paid on Monday, the pending deposit already shows up in my bank account today so I know how much it's going to be. Looks like just enough to cover everything. Unfortunately, nothing really extra to throw at CC2 but I can live with that.

Yipee! Last payment this statement period did the trick.

November 14th, 2006 at 03:38 pm

I am so stoked! I have an $85 deposit waiting by the door because I'm going to the bank today. Tuesday is bank day. And I just went to the CC2 website and posted it. It was payment #4 out of 4 payments allowed online in a billing cycle. And...it brings my current balance to well under $300! Last month the interest was almost $10, even if interest is the same this month (which it won't be) it won't go over $300.

Depending on how this next month goes it's concievable that I could have it paid off by the end of the year. I am stoked about this! I have $75 potential to pay next week ($30 in hand, check from a friend that was post dated, and $25 from my regular childcare, and $20 from babysitting this weekend) and I'm hoping for more because my brother did a side job this past weekend that gave him enough money that when he gets paid on Friday there's no reason why he can't make a payment to me as well. Not to mention that I get paid on Monday too, though the checks on the 20th usually aren't as much of a boost to the payoff. Plus I'm going to request a dividend payout from the card that'll be at least $55. Just don't know when I'll get that check.

Of course I won't consider it officially paid off until I get a statement with a $0 balance. But as soon as the balance online says $0 I can start unofficially moving on to Phase 2.

Didn't buy it.

November 7th, 2006 at 09:40 pm

I got an email today about the next book club meeting. We'll be reading Life After God. It sounded really interesting but then I noted the date of the bookclub meeting. It's when I'll be at the beachhouse. I still tried to get it from the library because I like reading but they didn't have it. So I thought, why not just buy it anyway? I found it on Amazon, used for under $2. But then add in shipping and it's closer to $6. Eh. I decided against it. It'd be different if I was actually going to make it to the meeting...but I'm not.

Made a nice hefty payment on CC2 yesterday, $347. Of that $218 was new charges that I'd added recently. No more of that though. Soon as the next statement comes out I'll be having them send me the cash back check and will apply it to the balance once I get it. If I play my cards right, I'll have the balance under $300 before the statement runs. That is exciting to me.

I only have one more week of my temporary childcare gig. I don't know if they'll need sitters again for the next run of classes but I imagine with the holidays those won't even start til beginning of the year. I still have my every Sunday gig and potential extra from Pinecone, babysitting for friends, and Certified Reports. But that's more sporatic. Ah well it was helpful while it lasted.

I really like the way I've been handling all this extra money. It comes in and goes right back out without me actually planning on having it. That way my savings account goes up and my credit cards go down without really any effort (except to do the deposits and transfers).

I'm now expecting one Pinecone check and three Certified Reports checks in the future. Just don't know when exactly to expect them. Plus $60 still from friends who haven't paid their portion of the beach house yet (will get $30 tonight). Plus $520 that my brother owes me but he's been seriously strapped for cash so I haven't bothered him about it. I figure it's better for him to not pay me back and make ends meet than to pay me back and have to borrow it again.

I am anxious to move onto Phase Two of my plan. We'll see how fast I can get there.

Very confusing...

November 3rd, 2006 at 04:09 pm

Because some friends and I are going to a beachhouse, and I sent in a check for the whole thing while they are slowly paying me back, my paycheck today is very confusing. Even for me. So here's a rough summary.

All bills have been paid.
$100 is being held out for 'Medical' because I'm anticipating a bill from the clinic and it hasn't arrived yet. Plus I have a dentist apt next week and I don't know if I'll have to pay anything.
$134 was left over to pay on CC2 but that payment is on hold pending transfers from online savings accounts.
My step brothers allotment has finally showed up so was able to pay an extra $100 on CC1.
$20.24 has been left in the bank account as a cushion.

My tires cost more than anticipated, $197 instead of $140. I did put them on my card and pulled the money out of all three savings accounts to cover it. I think I pulled evenly so as to not completely drain any one account. It'll be interesting to see how much I can build back up by the end of the month. I paid this with CC2 and will make the combined payment of $344 (paycheck extra, tires and Target) as soon as the money transfers from my savings accounts.

My hair cut and color ran $55 and I left him a $20 tip. I am so in love with the color. It looks awesome. And it should blend well so that I can wait another year to get it done again. But I had to pay with a check (fortunately a friend mentioned she'd written a check when she went to see him but couldn't remember why) because he's had trouble with the credit card machine so he doesn't use it.

I also spent another $12 at Target and silly me grabbed CC2 instead of my debit card. I needed more shampoo/conditioner since I was completely out of conditioner for color treated hair, and my shampoo for color treated hair was almost gone. Plus I got some other product that hopefully will tame the flyaway always sticking up hair. And...and...I splurged a little because their dollar spot had some of their asian line on clearance for 75% off. So I got a sake set (little container and cups), two sets of two tea cups, and a vase for $0.62 each. I rarely spend like that but thought perhaps I can keep them to give as gifts when the occasion arises.

Since today is payday I'm going grocery shopping. I have a growing list that I've been building all week in anticipation of needing it by the time payday rolled around. We don't get the paper but we do get the food day which has the ads. I was thumbing through Safeway since I shop there and Trader Joes most often, and found their 'buy 10 items mix/match and get $10 off instantly'. Now if their placement of that announcement and the items below it are correct (ie that the items below are the qualifying items) then I think I'm going to make out like a bandit. They have cake mixes, $1.98 each, buy one get one free. And cookie mixes 2 for $3. I could get 6 cake mixes and 4 cookie mixes for under $2. But I'm going to verify when I got to the store what items fall under that category. Since it isn't something I normally buy I don't want to stock up on a 'good deal' and not have cash at the end of the payperiod for things I really need.

Tuesday's deposit and spending.

October 31st, 2006 at 07:31 pm

I deposited $128.38 into my bank account today. $30 was my friend's portion of the beach house we're renting, I'm mailing off the check tomorrow as I technically have enough in my account for it to clear but am hoping that I'll have everyone else's portion before it clears. Total cost for the rental is $185 to be split between 6 people. The $98 has been applied to CC2 and the $0.38 will stay in the bank just because.

Now, my deposit for CC2 was short by $25. I got cash last night for my childcare work (that's normal) but I decided to give it to my brother. He gets paid on Friday, which is good, but I'm not certain he has enough in his bank account to last him til then. He got hit with three overdrafts last pay period and that really cut into him. I'd hate to see it happen again. He didn't ask for the money and I'm trying to avoid him having to ask for rent by pre-empting the possible overdrafts. He's also expecting a check from our other brother for $100 (payback from a loan) it just hasn't arrived yet.

But the way I look at it, I still had $98 to throw at CC2. Since I was only really expecting $50 from my usual childcare gigs I felt that was still a good chunk.

I picked up my brother so we could say 'until we meet again' to our great aunt this morning (she hates saying goodbye but she's moving to southern california today) and my car started acting up. That does not make me happy. We were at an onramp to the freeway that had an up incline. Every time the car ahead of me would move forward one car length I would follow. But since we weren't moving that fast I wouldn't let off the clutch completely. Not every time, but some of the time it would sound/feel like metal scraping metal and nothing would happen right away. I liken it to when your brakes get bad, like really bad, and you can feel it engage and try to stop but it doesn't right away. Except this was with the clutch not the brake. *sigh* I'm debating about calling my shop to see if they have any ideas but I hate not having enough information. And I really can't handle any work to be done on my car right now. I can barely handle the tires I'm putting on this week.

Todays CC2 payment.

October 24th, 2006 at 02:26 pm

I got all the money I was expecting ($140) but my payment today will only be $120. I got a call from one of the gals I've been babysitting semi-regularly for yesterday. She asked me to babysit on Sunday, no problem although there was a party I was going to go to but I'd rather make a couple extra bucks. Then she asked if I wanted to buy a Chinook Book. Her daughter's preschool is selling them as a fundraiser. It's $20 and is sort of like the Entertainment Book except it's only for this area and has mostly local businesses in it. Well, ok I think they've got one for Eugene as well but still it's way more local than the Entertainment Book.

Anyway, I told her I'd buy one. She's been supporting me by calling me to babysit, so I can support her daughter's school. Plus it's a great way to try new places that I don't even know exist. Smile She'll be stopping by this morning to pick up the money since she needs to turn it in by the 26th. I am hoping I can get the book itself before the 1st but I think that's pushing it. Ah well that's ok.

So, today I'm still making a hefty non-paycheck payment on CC2. Smile

I'm going to be a regular W2 employee

October 23rd, 2006 at 04:33 am

The church that I do childcare for has decided to make me a regular W2 employee. I only make $25/week and they're going to work out the taxes so I get $25/week. I have a W4 to take into them next week along with my passport.

I'm wondering if I should change my regular job W4 from 2 back to 1. I don't know what effect this little bit of extra will have on my taxes.

Now I'm only going to make about $400 this year from them. It's not enough to push me into another tax bracket. And I still have student loan interest that will help balance things out. I just wish I knew for sure. I'm fairly certain I won't have to owe anything still though.

My Tuesday deposit right now looks like:
5.00 Pinecone
30.00 Paycheck
25.00 Babysitting
50.00 Childcare on Sunday
------
110.00 Confirmed

Potential:
30.00 Childcare on Monday

I'm ready for it to be Tuesday so I can make a payment on CC2 already!

Three Phase Plan update.

October 21st, 2006 at 04:22 pm

Phase One (pay off CC2)

Statement balance difference: -$292.93
Total Payments: $488
Total charges and fees: $195.77

Most of those charges were from before I decided to stop using the card all together. The next statement should look better.

Previous potential payoff date: 4/20/2007
New potential payoff date: 3/20/2007

Phase two (build up EF to $1,000)

Between the three accounts my savings has grown by $130.01 since the end of September.

Phase three (pay as much off CC1 as possible by 4/15/2010)

Statement balance difference: -$90.70
Total payments: $473
Total charges and fees: $382.30

That was the last month that I'll have charges on this card. It used to be used to pay bills. It no longer serves that function.

Previous potential balance by 4/15/2010: $6,739.99
New potential balance by 4/15/2010: $6,665.47

Only $1,582.95 to go before things get back to normal on this card.

---

Back to CC2 news. I got $25 last night for babysitting instead of the expected $20. So now my Tuesday payment looks like this:

5.00 Pinecone check
30.00 Paycheck
25.00 Babysitting
-----
60.00 Confirmed payment

50.00 Childcare on Sunday
30.00 Childcare on Monday
-----
80.00 Potential

140.00 Possible payment. That makes me Very happy.

Because CC2 is a cashback card and you can only make withdrawls when it's at or past $50 I'm going to wait until after the November statement to request a cashback check. The reason for that is I'm planning on putting my tire purchase and my birthday hair cut/color on the card to get a little more cashback. After I make the charges I'll pull the money out of my savings to cover it and make that much extra of a payment the following Tuesday. That's the last charge I intend to make. Then when I get the cashback check, I'll just incorporate it with a payment on CC2. My current cashback amount is about $55.

Pay day!

October 20th, 2006 at 03:21 pm

It's payday today. It actually went surprisingly well. This is the first paycheck where I'm actually paying two of my bills instead of using them as part of the payment of my CC1. I had earmarked more money than necessary for some of them. Others had credits I wasn't expecting. So it all rounded out to not bad.

All bills got paid and leaves 20.03 cushion

I'm anticipating a nice deposit for Tuesday to pay towards CC2. I have the following in hand to pay:
30.00 From paycheck
5.00 Pinecone check

And the following potential:
20.00 Babysitting Friday night (guess)
50.00 Childcare on Sunday (they didn't pay me last week so I'll get double this week)
30.00 Childcare on Monday (extra $5 for what I gave a parent for change last week)

Grand total of $135 potentially to pay on CC2. I checked the calendar and there are exactly 4 Tuesdays between now and 11/20 so I'm ok to make a payment every week. That's exciting too. I can only make 4 online payments per statement period.

Once my statements are available online I'll be updating my Three Phase Plan.

Tomorrow is payday, but I'm getting gas today.

October 19th, 2006 at 09:12 pm

My tank is at about 1/2. Probably a little under since it actually shows it at half but when you fill it it goes way up past full. I get paid tomorrow but I have a $10 gas card from Shell and the cheap Shell station is on my way to my meeting tonight. So I'm going to see if I can put in that $10 and make it plus what's left in the tank last the whole next pay period. If it does, I'll save $40.

My brother is once again learning the hard way about the way banks work. He's up to a -$127 in his account because he doesn't keep track of his spending. Fortunately he gets paid tomorrow. He's going to start using cash instead, we'll see how that goes. Though I don't think I'm going to push for him to make a payment on what he owes me this month unless it looks like he'll have enough to cover everything.

My step brother is looking into why the allotment hasn't deposited yet into my account. It's really annoying to be honest. Fortunately, I already had enough in my regularly budgeted amount to cover more than the minimum required payment so it's not that big of a deal but it does need to be taken care of.

The day is only half over. I need to find some project to work on to keep me busy.

It just looks better.

October 17th, 2006 at 02:59 pm

I have a couple of loans through my bank (Wells Fargo) and when I log in I see the grand total of those loans on the main page. It's a rather discouraging amount, $43k. But today, after one of my loan payments got applied, it's down to $42k. That seems like a really big deal to me. I can't wait for next month when I actually start making a dent in the student loan.

I only got $20 last night. Well, I got $25 but one of the parents needed change and so I gave him my $5 and I'll get it back next week. I was debating about whether I should even bother making a trip to the bank to deposit just $20 but then I realized, it's cash. If I have it, I'll spend it. So I went ahead and made a payment on my CC2 for $20 which means that I HAVE to go to the bank to deposit it before work.

Still no sign of the allotment. I'll contact step bro later in the morning if it's still not there. I can never figure banks out. How they process things I mean. Sometimes they show the pending deposit/withdrawl, sometimes they don't but when it does show up it shows that it was credited the day before. I don't get it. Ah well, so long as I know it's coming out it's all good.

Learn something new every day

October 10th, 2006 at 04:07 pm

I just talked to my step brother about this month's payment since I didn't know when his allotment thing would kick in. Apparently how it works is he tells them the full amount of the allotment ($100) and how much to take out of each check (in this case half from each so $50) and then when the amount they've taken out of his pay matches the full amount of the allotment, then they transfer it. He and his wife noticed that $50 was taken out of his check on the 1st which means I should get the allotment transfer around the 15th. I've already paid more than the minimum required on that CC so as long as I have the money to pay on the card by the 20th (ie before the next statement rolls) then I'm good.

Getting deposit ready for payment.

October 10th, 2006 at 04:41 am

I decided to use my childcare money earned on Friday towards my camping trip so that's not going towards CC2. My brother did get paid on Friday, however he used most of his cash to catch up on bills, buy a bus pass, and what's left over is just enough to last him for food til next payday. So I won't bug him about a payment to me until next time.

I got an extra $5 tonight because parents have been picking their kids up late and pushing our time til almost 3 hours. So $30 from child care on Monday, $25 from child care on Sunday, and $216 from my paycheck. That's a payment of $271 to be applied tomorrow! Very happy about that.

Friday I'm babysitting for the other family I sit for, then there's Sunday and Monday nights again. So I have at least one more payment before the statement rolls. I'm trying to not count on everything before it happens, ie Friday could get cancelled, Sunday and/or Monday they might not need me. So until Monday night, I don't know what my extra payment will be. But I'm ok with that since I'm putting down a nice chunk tomorrow.

How long can I keep this up? We'll see...

Is it Thursday yet?

October 3rd, 2006 at 03:24 pm

I'm really anxious for payday. Not in the 'I'm broke I need more money' way but rather in the 'I can't wait to see how much I can throw at a credit card' kind of way.

I get extra money every check on the 5th for being 'on call'. It's not much, just $35/night to answer a cell phone between the hours of 6 pm and 5 am. After taxes it's closer to $17.50/night. So I never budget for it. It just goes towards whatever it needs to.

I guessed, based on last month's total. But I don't know if I had more nights or less. Normally I just have one night a week which means 4 or 5 nights a paycheck but now and again I cover for vacation or whatever so sometimes it's as many as 8.

If I did the numbers correctly, I'll have an extra $160 to throw at CC2. That really excites me since my Three Phase Plan is banking on $160/month and this is only the first paycheck of the month. I cannot wait to get out from under this! So, time fly to Thursday so I can make some headway.

Oh and that customer training gig has been postponed til next week I think. The gal that I'll be training is their main cashier, and she needs to train a newly hired cashier before she can devote time to training for inventory and the like. So they want me up there as soon as possible yet have to wait for the other training to finish. Which means, I can include my trip to the customer under my regular fuel budget and take the reimbursement and throw it at CC2. Sweet!

Three Phase Plan.

September 26th, 2006 at 07:41 pm

The excuses were plentiful. Ranging from 'it's too confusing to figure out a goal time frame with people paying me back for stuff' to 'I don't really know what I want to do with this extra money so why bother'.

But I did it. I sat down and worked out exactly how I wanted things to get paid off. I figured out roughly how long it would take to do it, at least for the first phase. And it actually looks do-able. Nothing like a plan of attack that might actually work. I'm basically trying to get as much taken care of before I make the last payment on my consolidation loan.

My ideas and plans keep shifting but once I put them on 'paper' they seem to solidify a little more.

I put my Three Phase Plan on a Google Spreadsheet, a link can be found under Sites I Frequent. I plan on updating it whenever any of the three phases changes. The hope is that any dates or figures listed are worst case senarios. I know I will have Phase One completed before the end of February but going by what I know I can count on, that's the date that presents itself.

As for the things I know I need, well I will put off getting two new tires until November. I have enough in savings now to pay for them but I want to wait until the last possible moment to pull that money back out. And the Bed. Well, we'll just see where my Emergency Fund is at when September '07 rolls around.

I'm back!

September 25th, 2006 at 03:38 pm

The weekend was absolutely fantastic. I felt like I should help out a little more (do dishes, alternate holding kids during meal prep so the moms could actually cook, keep an eye on some while the others were being tended to, there were 4 kids total the oldest is 3) so I did and then got gently scolded for doing so because apparently I was on vacation too. Smile

They went crabbing on Saturday and I went off for a hike nearby. It was more difficult than I expected, not bad, but I was lazy and didn't change my shoes but I probably should have. It was nice though to hike down to a secluded beach and just watch the waves and walk along it for a bit.

All the kids wound up going down before the parents left for dinner. That wasn't the original plan but they were so wiped out that it just happened that way. So I watched a movie and knitted for a while.

Spent a little on breakfast and lunch on Sunday, we all went out together for breakfast and then I got lunch on the way home. I had to leave earlier than I'd originally planned because my part time job started that afternoon.

The job itself, went great. I wound up being with the toddlers because there weren't any infants. It's apparently pretty hit and miss sometimes. But the kids I did get to work with were great. And a couple of the moms were really happy as it appeared some of them really took to me. Score! They're going to pay me weekly but don't know yet if I'm going to be cash (ie no taxes involved), Independant Contractor (I take care of all the taxes involved), or a regular W2 type paid employee. It's so little money, I'm good with whatever. Obviously, I'd prefer cash but whatever works for them. Shoot at this rate even as an Independant Contractor I wouldn't have to file as it won't be $600 this year.

My brother also paid me $60 towards his debt, so that means $143 has been sent off to CC2 this morning via their website. He's planning on another $60 at least next paycheck.

I was going to make a deposit today but then realized I really should wait until tomorrow. I'm working tonight as well, childcare for some night classes, and will just have to go to the bank again tomorrow. Might as well just make it one trip.

That was fast. Figuring out Citi

September 21st, 2006 at 03:43 pm

Ok so I just got the email stating that the transfer had been completed! Seriously, I got out of the shower, had been contemplating the Citi portion of this entry, so sat down at the computer, had no new email, clicked New Entry and an email came through. Sweet!!! Now it says that there is a 48 to 72 hour delay in updating their database with the information. But that still gets me out of there before October 1!! Yipee! I'm going to wait til next week though before spending the money. Just to make sure everything clears. Oh man what a load off.

Ok onto Citi. I was looking at the new statement I got today and trying to figure out why the daily average balance for the balance transfer didn't get affected that much. And I think I figured it out. For some reason, I was under the impression that the interest you acrue on the higher balance would just get added back into the higher balance and keep acruing until you paid the balance transfer off. I really wish I knew where I come up with this stuff. Anyway, I think it's more along the lines of, they take out all interest payments, they apply it to purchases that are in grace period, and then whatever is left goes to principle of the balance transfer. Since this is the first statement with the balance transfer it looks sorta odd. But I also forgot to add in the fee associated with the balance transfer so it makes sense now. Plus it doesn't help that I'm still paying bills with that card. I figure it'll be November's statement before I can get a real idea of how this will work without me incurring more debt.

Until then, I'm keeping track of when my stepbrother pays me back. I am using my own figures to calculate interest since my regular payment is also being used to pay off his balance until the balance transfer is paid off. My goal is to have the bt paid off before my stepbrother is done paying me back, that way whatever he is still paying me I'll just use as extra payment to make up for the months when I wasn't making a dent in my own balance.

I'm going to use their Balance Subject to Finance Charge as a comparison for how much is left to pay on the balance transfer. According to the statement, the balance subject to finance charge is: 1,901.67. The amount my spreadsheet says my stepbrother currently owes me is: 1,970.60. So I'm definately on track.

Current budget for this payperiod

September 21st, 2006 at 03:05 pm

Incoming:
1204.69 Salary
-6.55 left over from last check *
-------
1198.14

Outgoing:
100.00 Rent (save for October)
93.17 Insurance
250.00 CC1**
60.00 Student Loan
35.00 Savings
121.00 Personal Loan (save for October)
100.00 Food
60.00 Storage
170.47 Timeshare (hopefully not)
65.01 Electric (equal pay plan)
40.00 Gas (car)
30.00 Personal play money
50.00 Croatia Trip***
-------
1174.65

Leaves: 23.49 when all is said and done

* I sent in a check for $20 for an application fee in March. Turns out I didn't need to pay it, but they've not returned my check nor cashed it. So I pretend it's still there but allow myself a $20 cushion before pulling extra cash from savings. I was not overdrawn.

** Part of that payment is made up of my Cell bill and Cable bill money. If the timeshare does go away I will pay cash for my cable bill this time around (not due til Oct 9 so it can wait) and next month pay cash for both. The goal is in October to still be able to pay $250 towards CC1 while paying cash for the other two bills.

*** Went to Croatia in June for a mission trip. The plane tickets were more than anticipated so teammember wound up charging the difference. We are trying to figure out ways to raise the last of the money due ($5500) but until then we each pitch in monthly towards the minimum payment. Teammember says I don't need to contribute for a couple months because I keep giving her double what she asked for initially from each of us. I tell her to take all she can get to throw at it. I'm working on her though, she did call and get the interest rate lowered by 3% and as soon as the new house she bought craziness settles down we're going to start looking at other options to perhaps transfer the balance to a lower interest rate card.

Soon as I hear that the transfer has processed for my timeshare I plan on taking that $170, putting $61 towards the cable bill, $30 to pay back a friend for ticket she bought me, and $80 towards CC2. Plus my brother gets paid tomorrow so any money he starts paying me back will also go towards CC2.

Credit cards.

September 14th, 2006 at 06:30 pm

I have learned a very important lesson. I think. I cannot be trusted to have CC2 in my wallet. Originally, the idea was to just use it for grocery and gas purchases since I get 5% cashback and I don't spend more than my budget. But it's become my emergency and what the hell I'll pay it off soon enough crutch just by being in my wallet. I don't need to freeze it or give it to someone else but just keeping it in my drawer and not in my pocket is enough.

Since Citibank is doing away with 5% cashback on grocery and gas purchases sometime in October, I was going to stop using it soon anyway. I am going to continue to use it until next week when I get paid again for groceries. Then it goes back into the drawer.

What happened? Simple. My favorite band came through again, this time doing a bunch of nearby in-store, free, shows. I filled up on gas a few times to get to the shows as one was in Olympia (110 miles away) and another was in Seattle (150 miles away). Plus I worked in between so it's not like I went to one, stayed for a couple of days, then went to the other. Then a bunch of us went out to dinner at a place that wound up being more spendy than we'd anticipated. And knowing how everyone's on a tight budget, I just decided to pick up the tab for the four of us. To the tune of about $58 after tip and taxes. Then, I decided to pick up 5 copies of the new cd, one for myself and the rest as gifts. Although, one of the guys I gave one to paid me for it. Still, that's another $65.

I have not adjusted my habits enough to have the card in my wallet. I realize this now. In a week, it will be put away.

Busy morning.

September 5th, 2006 at 03:29 pm

Roomate comes home tonight so I am tidying up the front living areas after my explosion of boxes from storage that I was going through. Finished up last night, took out 5 more grocery bags of paper (3 just recycle, 2 shreds) and one 13 gallon garbage bag. The end result of things to keep (either to really keep or to keep for sale at some point) mostly fit into one of my 12 gallon boxes. Now to find room for that.

While tidying I found an offer from Citi. Normally I'd shred/toss these but the 0% APR on balance transfers until Sept '07 was really tempting. So I tried applying for it online and it claimed I put in a wrong number. Hmm. Ok so I think I'll just mail it in. But first I check to see what the regular APR is and *shock* it's prime plus 23.99%! Hello? I don't think so. Even if I was only going to use it for the balance transfer, I'm not applying for that card.

I finally got ahold of someone at the clinic where I usually send in $100 towards my dr bills and tests. I was pretty sure I was ahead of the game temporarily but wanted to be certain. She said there wasn't a balance because they were still waiting to hear back from my insurance. Last time it took about 3 months for them to reply about my Echo so I think this month and next month are fairly safe to use the money for my dentist bill. Fortunately I'm on a go see the dr every three months rotation now instead of once a month (or in the beginning, once every 2 weeks). So I can expect that once my last Echo is paid for, I won't have a bill from them for a while. Which will be nice. More for savings or debt repayment!

Change in cashback and savings account

August 29th, 2006 at 05:48 pm

I got a letter yesterday from Citibank stating that starting sometime in October they're changing the 5% cashback for grocery/gas purchases to 2% and the only 5% cashback will be at participating network stores. Which would be ok if I could buy food and gas at Target but I don't/can't. So starting in October I will go back to using cash for food/gas and leave my Citi Dividend card for playing Balance Transfer games to get things paid off sooner. At least in the mean time I should have enough to get a cashback payout before they switch. I think I'll wait to get the payout until I stop using it for food/gas purchases that way I don't have any potential reward just sitting there not able to be cashed out because it's not at least $50 yet.

I deposited another $5 check from Pinecone Research today into my local savings account which brings that account to just over $100! Yay! Unfortunately I really need new tires, at least two. I was hoping to get my savings up to $400 before the rainy season hit just in case I go in to buy two and they insist that I need four. *sigh* The downside of having specialty rims means specialty tires. The car came that way, it's not something I added. The last time I was at the tire store to get a flat fixed they said one of my tires really needed to be replaced and that for two it'd be $140. I will shop around once I have the money and try to find a good deal.

Just out of curiosity, since I can't view it, does my bio show up on the right? I was curious to see how it looked but even if I log out it doesn't display it. And I can see everyone else's.


ETA: Figured out the Bio thing. I didn't have anything in the Author Name field and once I put something in there it showed up.

Payment plan set up.

August 28th, 2006 at 09:31 pm

My step brother just called about setting up a payment plan for paying back the money I gave him so he could keep his truck. The absolute minimum he will be paying is $100. Chances are he'll be able to do more at some point but until then he will be setting up the following:

$50 from each check on the 1st and 15th set up as an allotment that way I always know when I'll have the money and don't have to worry about missing a payment (I borrowed the money as a balance transfer on one of my credit cards at 3.99% interest).

For now, since the 15th just passed, he will get me $50 from that check and another $50 from the 1st. Hopefully by October the allotment will automatically go through.

I considered telling him not to worry about it right away since my regular minimum payment is only a couple dollars less than what they increased it to with the balance transfer. But then remembered that Dad and StepMom had offered to also help him out with paying me back so I figured he could figure that part out on his own.

It's hard for me to not continue to 'help' but I need to step back and let him figure it all out on his own. At $100/mo it'll take almost two years to pay back. *sigh* So hopefully he will increase it when he can.

Weekend fun

August 23rd, 2006 at 02:33 am

The weekend was fun. Was rather annoyed by the rental company, they didn't have ANY cars even though I had a reservation. So I got a minivan instead. It was nice to have the room but the gas mileage sucked! I paid for half of the gas (because of how we figured out who would pay for what leg of the trip and I had one quarter leg all to myself) and my fellow travelers paid for the other half. My friend bought a ticket for the second show from me because she didn't have one yet. I thought she had two and was only using one so that worked out well. My uncle paid for the room. I paid for the minivan (at the car rate I had secured) because I hadn't paid my uncle back yet for the first show ticket. All in all after all the settling up was done I got about $50 cash. And had put $150 on my credit card. *sigh*

No more using the credit card! My time share transfer isn't going through until October so I don't have that money to throw at CC2 yet. It's supposed to be paid off but it now has a balance of over $500. I can account for all of it, me just thinking 'oh I'll pay it off really soon when my time share transfer goes through' for some of it, paying for the transfer for other of it. Argh!

Whoops. I guess I didn't click post this morning. Anyway. We'll see how well I do with the whole no more charging bit. I have $30 now in cashback dividends but I can't request a check til its at $50. I am still putting groceries and gas on it because I pay that off right away plus I'l l have extra to put on it on the 5th. The hope still is that when the dividend balance reaches $50 the card will already be paid off and I can use that check for savings or just something else in general.

Food and Gas budget.

August 3rd, 2006 at 02:24 pm

I thought I'd try something new this past pay period. Since my cashback cc was paid off, and it gives me 5% back on grocery and gas purchases, I decided to charge (within my budget) all my food and gas purchases and then pay it off right before my next payday.

Well tomorrow is my next payday. I didn't use all of my budget, there was 22.89 left over all together. However, I did have to charge my recent auto repair as well to the card so I do still have a debt outstanding. So when I made a payment just now, I put the entire amount I had budgeted to try and eat away at the auto repair.

I'm not sure what I should do about this next pay period, seeing as how I'll have a blanace that will carry over. At least this first statement it won't have any interest applied. Normally I could possibly scare up the difference with my extra check that I get on the 5th but since I lent (gave) my brother $200 for rent I have to make that up too.

So I might just pull the cash out and carry that around so there's no additional charges to potentially incur interest since I can't pay the balance in full just yet. Or I may continue what I did before: use the card for food and gas and pay my entire budget towards the card even if I don't use it all to try and eat away at the auto repair charge and hope that Sept 5th I can pay the difference. Fortunately I did call them and lower my interest rate by 3% so that's a good thing at least.

Balance Transfer?

July 25th, 2006 at 03:01 pm

I know they say it takes 7 to 10 days but has anyone actually requested a Balance Transfer to be mailed to them in the form of a check? I've been watching the status. It's gone from Pending to Open to Approved. Is Approved the last step? Should I start watching my mail for it now? Or will it be another week?

I don't take my own advice...

July 22nd, 2006 at 01:05 am

Remember that big long spiel about not using my credit card to help out my step brother? Well... yeah.

I waited to see if my dad and step mom could help him out at all. They couldn't. I heard that the dude at the bank said even if he could just get $1k together he could keep his truck. They only have the one vehicle and with her being preg and having lots of appointments, loosing the truck would be huge.

So, I offered him $2k. I spoke to the guy at his bank, explained that I can put in the request for the money (he can't process a credit card) but it'll take a little bit for it to get to me. He's leaving for vacation next week. He'll be in touch with me when he gets back and we can talk and see where the money is. But for now, til he gets back, the truck is safe in my step bro's hands.

I was able to get in on Citi's 3.99% balance transfer deal, yes it had a 3% fee but all of that will be paid back by my step brother. And it's better than getting a cash advance which would have been at 22.something%. He's going to set up an allotment to auto transfer money to my account every time he gets paid, he's looking at getting a parttime job, and dad and step mom have also offered to pitch in to pay me back since they couldn't come up with it initially.

I will be ok with making the payments if for some reason he can't. I wouldn't have done it otherwise. Plus with dad and step mom in the mix, and them knowing how hard I'm working to get out of debt, I have every reason to believe it will be taken care of.

And in other brother news, K has asked for help with rent. I was anticipating that and expected him to ask for $300. But he only needs $200. So I will transfer that money over tonight. If he doesn't pay me back it's ok.

Update on car and update on CC

July 21st, 2006 at 06:13 pm

Last night I left a message at the shop with the sound of my car trying to start. They think it's the ignition relay. $100 for the part, $50 for labor. I'm ok with that since they didn't charge me anything for trying to find the problem earlier in the week, and they had it for 24 hours (not that they worked on it that whole time but still).

They said they can do it today, so it's there right now. Fun stuff. Fortunately today I called and got my interest rate lowered on the card I was going to put it on as well. I'd been putting it off since I wasn't really using it so didn't see the point but now that I might have to carry a small balance for a statement or two, I figured it couldn't hurt.

CC1, the one I got lowered by 5%, the new statement reflected the interest changes. Oh. My. Gosh. My minimum payment and the amount of interest charged both dropped by $90!!! Now, I still don't have enough to fully pay the minimum on my own so I'm sticking with what I was doing before. But if I can clear out the storage before the end of the month, and have $60 I can start putting to my credit card, then I'll stop paying bills with my credit card just so I can make the minimum payment.

I'm so ok with all the potential outflow of money that I don't have, it's kinda scary.


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