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Finding my way back.

June 14th, 2007 at 10:58 pm

In my head it made perfect sense. I was paying more than the minimum on my 10.9% loan because that was the amount already in the budget from when it was a credit card with a higher minimum. Recent changes in required minimums have forced me to rethink things. And considering I'm training for a walking relay, and walking about 6 miles three times a week, I have LOTS of time to rethink things.

This is what I have come up with:
Priority 1: Pay off CC2
Priority 2: EF up to goal
Priority 3: 13.25% personal (not federal) student loan
Priority 4: 10.9% loan and back on track with my Three Phase plan

Priority 1... well you see it went something like this. I had CC2 all paid off. A couple months ago I remembered that CC1 was still the billing card for my website (annual automatic charge) so I changed it to be CC2 since CC2 was paid off and it would be more motivation to pay it off before interest accrued. Only I thought the website renewal was in July and it's really in June so it's been charged already and I have yet to pay it off.

Then as I was looking at something at Ticketmaster I saw that Stomp was coming to town. I have this friend, we've known each other a long time (since '94). Her birthday is coming up end of June and I haven't really ever gotten her something that's really special, something that she'd really appreciate. Usually it's just the token 'oh crap her birthday's coming up I need to do something' type gift. Granted, she doesn't expect anything from me and has told me that on numerous occasions. But, she also has come up with some pretty amazingly thoughtful wonderful gifts for me over the years. (like my justification bit here?) She also happens to Really like Stomp. So I decided to see what tickets were available and found some pretty decent seats. I went ahead and bought two tickets, thinking it was in July and she could just take whoever she wanted to. But after I bought them I realized the show is in June, just before her birthday. So I'm going to surprise her and take her to the show. She knows we're getting together that night for her birthday just the two of us but that's all she knows. I'm really excited about surprising her on the one hand and mildly kicking myself for charging it before knowing that I'll have the funds to pay it off before interest is charged.

And of course then there was my dentist visit on Wednesday. It wound up costing $448, a little more than expected but they did two fillings rather than just one so I knew it would be more. I have transferred money out of my Medical Savings to pay that part off.

Priority two... I just recently realized that I'm never going to get my EF to where it needs to be at the rate I'm going. Which right now is I have a small amount in the budget that goes to Savings but then I take all of the extra money and throw it at my 10.9% loan. It wouldn't take me all that long to make my goal if I'd just put the extra into Savings instead.

Priority three... This loan is the bane of my existence. The interest rate increased after I actually started paying on it and instead of being the $50/mo it claimed it would be, it actually wound up being more. I got sick of the fluctuations in how much to pay every month so I just started paying $60/mo. That at least made my budget simple and meant that I was paying a little extra on it. But I just want it to go away! So I've decided to focus on that soon.

Priority four... I really still want to have all of my consumer debt paid off by April 2010. I feel like I'm going to be behind in my goal if I put other things in front of it but my gut feeling is that this is the way it needs to happen. Besides, then I'll have an extra $60/mo to pay on things once I pay off the 13.25% loan.

Writing this all down is more for me than anything else. I seem to think of all this great stuff but never follow through. Perhaps with it written down perhaps I can actually stick to it.

Transfer complete!

April 6th, 2007 at 03:09 pm

My funds got released off of hold yesterday so I paid off the balance on my loan, completing the transfer from 14.42% to 3.99%. According to my online banking that loan is paid off so I took the payment that I'd been holding in reserve, just in case something didn't come through in time, and paid it on the CC I did the balance transfer on. That way I've started the ball rolling over there as well, even though I won't get the first statement until the 20th.

I'm very excited! I'm ready to hit the ground running. I bumped up my EF a little too so by the end of this month it should be fully funded and I can start taking my extra cash and putting it towards my debt. Yipee!

Still not all together certain I'll be able to make my first 2007 goal but by golly I'm going to work as hard as possible to get it as close as possible!

My chart got updated at NCN Network. That's pretty cool. Right now it's at the top of the list though that will change when he does more updates.

Three Phase Plan update

February 20th, 2007 at 11:56 pm

Phase Two. Build up EF to $1,000.

Between the three accounts my savings has increased by $258. At this rate I will reach my goal by April.

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

This phase has changed. I took out a loan to pay off CC1 and lock in the interest at a lower rate. But the end result is still the same, pay off as much of loan as possible by 4/15/2010.

Statement balance difference: -$262.30
Total Payments: $350.00
Total charges and fees: $88.82

Previous potential balance by 4/15/2010: $6,701.73
New potential balance by 4/15/2010: $7,744.40

Once things settle down it'll start looking better, ie the new potential balance will start decreasing instead of increasing.

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I guess I overreacted to the thought that I wouldn't have enough in the bank to cover the first payment. With the interest being so low I had enough from what I had stashed in my electronic envelope to pay off the interest and for the new loan payment plus about $30. It went out in the mail today, will definately reach there before the due date. My hope is that by the time the next payment due date arrives, I will have everything set up online.

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Today was payday. I held out a little to get an oil change and $20 for a birthday gift. Even with that I was able to stash an extra $32 into savings. Wheee. I went grocery shopping and bought a florescent light that was the wrong size. I'll take it back and then call my apt manager to verify that it's something I do need to replace or if they'll provide us with those since it's a specialty type item. My tank is plenty full of gas, won't need to fill it for a little bit at least.

Three Phase Plan update and other stuff

January 19th, 2007 at 03:58 pm

Phase One. Eliminate CC2.

COMPLETED!!!

Phase Two. Build up EF to $1,000.

Between the three accounts, taking out a little for airfare and adding in regular budget amounts plus extra my savings has increased by $129.83 since the end of last month. Rock on. Granted it's not the expected increase of $155 but considering I pulled out $90 I know I totally would have exceeded the expected.

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

Statement balance difference: +$1,758.15
Total payments: $523
Total charges and fees: $248.70

Previous potential balance by 4/15/2010: $3,916.24
New potential balance by 4/15/2010: $6,701.73

Right now only $2,141.74 to go before things get back to normal. This includes the $2,000 balance transfer I did for my brother. Hopefully he can start paying me back soon so I can eat away at it faster.

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I updated my Quicken balances. It now shows a payoff date of 2/1011 but that's because I don't enter in the lower interest rate because that only applies to a small portion of it. The interest saved now it shows as $781.42

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Since my raise won't be in effect til next month, I'm really glad I held out $60 to cover the budget. I didn't really need all of it though. But I'll still do it next month til I know what my actual amounts will be. I wound up with $48 left over, I like to keep $20 as a cushion so I transferred $28 to savings since that's the Phase I'm in right now.

And I found out that I can't get glasses at the cheap place I found online. Frown My prism is too heavy. So looks like I'll be staking out LensCrafters and Binyons after all looking for a good deal.

Three Phase Plan, December update.

December 20th, 2006 at 04:30 pm

Phase One. Eliminate CC2.

COMPLETED!!! I was very much expecting to have to pay a little bit of interest on this month's statement but it is all $0.00! Wheee! Onto Phase Two officially!

Phase Two. Build up EF to $1,000.

Between the three accounts, taking out unexpected loans and adding in regular budget amounts plus extra once Phase One was unofficially completed my savings has increased by $205.33 since the end of last month. Rock on.

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

Statement balance difference: -$293.12
Total payments: $523
Total charges and fees: $229.88

Previous potential balance by 4/15/2010: $6,096.99
New potential balance by 4/15/2010: $3,916.24 (I'm going to start using Quicken's figure for this)

Right now only $992.91 to go before things get back to normal. Unfortunately that won't be lasting long. I'll be cashing a check next week for $2,000 balance transfer and will be adding a few more dollars to the mix.

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I updated my balances in Quicken. It still shows the same payoff date of 10/2010 but now it shows the interest saved as being $472.34. I'll take what I can get.

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I got paid today. All bills are paid and my cushion left in the account is $18.65 It'll be interesting to see if we do get a Costco Cash Card after all since the guy who makes Costco runs went yesterday on his way home from work. If we don't, I'll be stretching that food budget creatively. Smile

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.

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.

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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
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86.00 Confirmed payment

25.00 Childcare on Sunday
60.00 Brother making a payment
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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.

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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.