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Viewing the 'Credit Card Hell' Category

Updated Quicken

November 22nd, 2006 at 09:05 am

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 01:47 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 19th, 2006 at 07:49 pm

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 10:11 am

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 07:38 am

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 01:40 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 08:09 am

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 11:31 am

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 07:26 am

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 22nd, 2006 at 09:33 pm

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!