Saturday, July 22, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Friday, July 14, 2006
I'm also a little bummed today because we had some rain and there is a new leak in our roof. Tomorrow I will check out the roof and hopefully it's a minor problem and some sealant or something can fix it until a whole new roof is needed. Anyone recommend a good product for that purpose? I'm just hoping that a professional isn't needed and I hope the whole roof isn't shot. That would be really bad right now because big expenses would mean a big setback with reducing debt.
Anyways, just wanted to check in and let everyone know I'm still here. Just not the happiest camper right now but I'm sure after a good night's sleep I'll feel better.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
I read every blog on my blogroll at least weekly. I'm a little old fashioned and (cough) just click on my links to visit everyone's blogs. I know, I should get with the times and sign up to some feeds!
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Seeing that number...$30,616...I am so close to having it under 30 grand. If I didn't have to worry about some final finance charges from Credit Card #2, I'm pretty sure I could do it. I just don't know how much those finance charges will be and I still have a few days to wait to find out.
I am also waiting for another statement to arrive, and then I will know all of my new minimum payments to I can calculate our new DTI as well as seeing how long it will take to pay all of this off! I'm thinking if it could be done in 2 years, that would be awesome. Then I can finally start thinking about saving!! Oh, what a glorious day that will be :)
As I looked at that thing ferociously attached to his skin I could feel my heart pound like you wouldn't believe. The buggers have eight legs! Eight legs in my mind = a spider and I am deathly afraid of spiders, especially the big ones. I felt my whole body start shaking, but I knew I had to get that thing off my hubby.
I grabbed the tweezers and followed tick removal instructions and I had to stop a few times to compose myself. Every time that thing moved I wanted to jump a mile back. I finally got the sucker off.
My husband has been walking in the woods recently, so I was sure it was just him picking them up from there.
A few days later, my husband wakes my son up and he has a tick right on his head!! My hubby took that one off, but I still do not understand where my son got it because he hadn't been in the woods or anywhere with long grass, etc in a while. Another weird thing is that no one in my family has had ticks before and this year there have been three!
My son and I went fishing last week, and I sprayed Deep Woods Off all over. I am not taking any chances and I guess I will just have to smell like Off all summer. I can't help it. Those things freak me out!! I guess I will have a large expense for this summer for buying insect repellent.
I feel like such a wimp.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
1.) A check for $5.00 for completing a survey with Pinecone Research. I've been doing surveys for them for a while, and it's a great way to earn a few extra dollars every now and then. The surveys don't take long to do (usually 10 minutes) and I've never had a problem getting paid. Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity gave the news that Pinecone is having an open enrollment. If interested, check out his link. Chances are it probably won't last long, so check it out soon!
2.) A box of snack size Take 5 candy bars for a BzzBlast. I get to try them, as well as pass them on to others to try. I thought the candy bars would be pretty gross with having pretzels in them - but they actually taste good. Just so you know, I am in no way required to promote products and I'm not being paid to say that I like them. The idea behind the program is that you try something new and if you like it - you spread the word. Like how things happen everyday with word-of-mouth advertising. Just, in this case, I get to try products for free :) If you are interested in becoming a BzzAgent, here's their website http://www.bzzagent.com.
That reminds me, what sort of freebies are at Walmart right now? Better check!
I can't top those, but I can offer a different perspective - from a retail worker's side.
I worked as a cashier for a few years and here's the best er...worst of my experiences:
1.) I was training another cashier and scanning through a woman's groceries (the trainee was bagging as I was talking him through things). Something didn't scan and I was explaining to my trainee how to enter the barcode manually. It probably took two more seconds to talk while performing the action. The lady went off on us! She started yelling and screaming and we just took it because that's what you are supposed to do. She quieted down, and we continued with her order. Afterwards, we both tried to figure out what happened, but we couldn't figure out what made her blow. A few days later, she came in and apologized to us and said she was having a very bad day.
2.) Late at night, a man stumbled into the store. He tripped over the gumball machine and proceeded to go towards the beer. He had to check-out in my lane, and I told him that I could not sell to him because he is intoxicated. That never goes over well. He started slurring obscenities and calling me every name in the book. He finally gave up because I wasn't budging. He was about 10 feet away from me and he turned around and threw a few pennies at me. As he did that, he said, "Here's a few pennies for ya!" Thank goodness for the beer because he missed me by at least 10 feet. He saw he missed me, called me one last name and stumbled away. He must have remembered what he did, because he avoided my line and when he had to go through it he was very quiet and very polite.
Anyone else have any cashier stories?
My Money Forest hosted the 43rd Carnival of Debt Reduction. My favorite article is from the one....the only....No Credit Needed. That guy never ceases to amaze me. He has whittled down his debt and pumped up his savings at a speed that takes my breath away. I am proud to be a member of the No Credit Needed Network. I am in GREAT company over there with lots of inspiration.
The Real Returns hosted the Carnival of Personal Finance #56. There's one article that everyone should read. It's from Steve Mertz at In Cash Flow We Trust. The unexpected can happen to any one of us and we could lose our source of income. Steve poses a challenge to everyone to help figure out a way to help a mother generate money while staying home with her autistic son. Please visit his site, read the story, and think your brains out to try to help the woman mentioned as well as others in her situation.
Monday, July 10, 2006
I have a feeling I know where it is, and I just have to remember to ask if he has it when he gets home :)
I briefly mentioned how HDTVs are tempting in my Keeping Motivated to Become Debt Free post. I mentioned that back in April and here it is July. They are still so tempting.
It doesn't help that we didn't have a very nice time at the movie theater yesterday. Our current TV is a 27" and it's about 8 years old. It still works, but the picture quality isn't the best.
We did take a look at them at Walmart, and there was a 26" that I practically fell in love with. The picture was so crisp and clear and with the wide screen, it looked beautiful. I hate to admit, I went as far as asking if there were any in stock. It turns out that the display is all they have of that model and they would not be getting any more. All of the other LCDs didn't have that beautiful picuture. There were a few flat screen TVs that looked nice, but there is no way to fit one of those in our car.
I think for now, I will continue to argue in my mind for and against the purchase. Of course, the biggest "against" is the fact that the money used to pay for the TV would be extra money that was going to go towards debt (I have a big amount slated for this month ~ shooting to get the credit card debt under $30,000). Do I really want to fall behind a month with trying to reach the goal date?
The worst thing is...I don't understand why I am being lured to them. I am not normally a electronic wow-able person. That's usually my husband. But why me and why now? One thing I've learned is that sometimes when you want something, you could actually be wanting something else. Ahh...the psychology of spending. Hopefully soon I will figure it out.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
We decided to take our son to the "big screen" to see the Pixar movie, Cars. Since we haven't been to one in a while, we were unsure what to expect with prices. For the three of us, the matinee tickets cost $14.50. Wow. Then, a large Coke and a medium popcorn was $7.50. Double wow. Total cost of outing, $22.00.
Our particular theater was a disappointment as well. The picture was projected slightly crooked and the sound quality was horrible. I couldn't believe that with the roar of race cars I couldn't feel it. I guess for the amount that I paid I was expecting to feel the hairs on my arm rise with the roar of a race car's engine. I'm sure that's what Pixar had in mind with the movie, but our movie theater didn't deliver that experience.
We will happily be renting movies and watching them at home from now on. They sound better and we can be more comforatble. And to think...I know going to the movies costs more in bigger cities. Triple wow.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
I was outside and I heard a rustle from the neighbor's yard. I looked, and I saw a grocery store plastic bag moving around. At first I thought it was the wind, but it was moving around too much. Then it hit me - the chipmunk that hangs around there probably trapped himself in it. I was just about to get my shoes on to give the little fellow a hand when I saw him outside of the bag. He wasn't in it...he was dragging it around!
Then, the funniest thing happened. He went into a hole into the ground and drug that bag right in there with him. It took him a while to get the whole thing in the hole, but he did. I watched in amazement the entire time. When the bag disappeared, I couldn't help but wonder what value that little guy saw in a plastic bag. Oh how I wish I had a way to see into the ground to take a peek at his home.
Then, I realized something - he/she is being frugal. Not frugal in the sense of spending less than you make but in the sense of utilizing old things for new uses. Thinking about it more, birds do this a lot with using "human" things they find to help build their nests.
Maybe I'm stretching the meaning of frugal a little bit, but that plastic bag sure seemed like an inexpensive treasure to that little guy. I'm thinking that he/she ended up making a nice lounge chair with that plastic bag. Admit it - you are envisioning it now :)
Friday, July 07, 2006
The best part of my current job is that I'm pretty sure they like me and I enjoy working for them. I can see myself working my way up in the company, expecially if I increase my education (which I have been doing). It has taken a while to get here in regards to my career, with some really odd jobs, but I think it has been worth it.
I mentioned earlier today, well yesterday now, that I am feeling quite uneasy about how my debt is spread out with balance transfers. It's late and I should get some sleep so I will elaborate more this weekend.
NOTE: This blog focuses on my credit card debt, but because my Prosper loan transferred some of that debt away, it will now be included in future reports.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
The process of making a payment is really easy. After logging into my account, I clicked the "Make a payment now" link. I was taken to another screen where I have the following choices:
1.) "Make next monthly payment of $112.77 now - Your next payment is due on Jul-20-2006"
2.) "Make an additional payment of $ (fill in amount here) - Your next monthly payment will proceed as scheduled for Jul-20-2006"
3.) "Pay off entire loan balance now"
Of course, being able to do #3 would be awesome but I'm not there yet ;) So, I went with #1 and I am just paying my first payment a little early. After I indicate that I would like to do #1, I am taken to a page where I confirm the information and click submit. After that, the next screen states the payment was successful and I was given a transaction number. I'd highly recommend that every borrower keep track of the transaction number for each payment. I just include it in my memo line in Quicken.
Next, I head on over to my account overview and I see that I now have $0.00 due July 20, 2006. So far, so good.
Now, where's the interest info? If you click on the "View loan details" link, you will be taken to a page that shows the status of your payments and it also breaks down how much of your payment went towards interest and how much went towards the principal. My payment split ended up being $18.99 interest and $93.78 principal.
I sure hope my loan payment goes off without a hitch and my payment is made early and no duplicate payment occurs. If not, I have a buffer in place and if the payment doesn't go through I will have a few days to try to work it out before lenders start worrying about a late borrower. Luckily, I have the ability to contact most of my lenders to let them know if there is a problem - and for those who check in on me here, you'll find out here as well :)
Index of My Borrowing Experience with Prosper
I like the fact that the interest rates are lowered now. But I do not like the fact that there are many more payments to make and more accounts to watch. Maybe because I was comfortable with the payment schedule I have had for so long. Gosh, I hope that's it and I'm not having a psychic vision of financial headaches to come.
I tend to rely VERY heavily on my gut and my gut is saying that it doesn't like my debt spread out like it is. I'm not sure what to do about it, though. In hindsight, perhaps I should have asked for a larger loan with Prosper. Then again, I might not have received the 9.9% interest rate.
When I post the picture (later tonight), you'll see what I mean. As always, any comments are appreciated.
UPDATE: June credit card debt and finance charges are posted here.
I've only heard about ice cream trucks and never saw one actually cruising the streets waiting for kids (except in the movies). Being a new experience for me and also my son, we ran across the street to grab a treat. Along the way, we were stopped by a little boy with ice cream in his hand and in a very hurried sentence told me that he heard the music and hopped on his bike and rode all the way over here see what it was making the music. The wide eyes and the ear to ear smile on his face was one that I will not soon forget.
The ice cream was pretty expensive ($1.00 for a push-up pop) and I ended up spending over $2.00 for our treat when we could have bought a quart of ice cream from the grocery store. But sometimes just the experience makes up for spending an extra dollar.
My contributions were Hospitals - Gotta Watch them Like a Hawk and Using Classes in Quicken to Further Breakdown Expenses from my other blog, Quicken Tips.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
If you would like to listen to the new American V album, AOL has the full album for your listening pleasure for free! I just found this, so I'm not sure how long it lasts. But thought I would spread the news!
Just visit http://music.aol.com and scroll down until you see "Listen to Full CD's for Free." There are some other albums listed as well.
"This is a great resource if you can't afford your prescriptions. There's lots of information on this site - eligibility guidlines, application requirements, etc.
Just about every drug manufacturer has it's own patient assistance program. Once you find the correct program - try searching by brand name or generic name - print off the paperwork, fill in your part, provide proof of income if necessary and give it to your doctor to fill out the rest. They'll mail or fax it in for you."
I just took a peek, and the program I was in was listed. What a great resource!
Thanks for the info Scarlett!!
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Unfortunately, we will not be watching fireworks this year. We try to go to one of the best displays in the state every year, but my husband has to work tonight. A bummer, but we have a few sparklers from last year that my son and I will go out and have some fun with. I look forward to the day that my husband and I both work regular business hours and get all holidays off together.
That's another one of my motivators to pay down debt :)
Happy 4th Everyone!
Monday, July 03, 2006
Most are about love and relationships, but here's a few that are personal finance related:
This one doesn't surprise me at all, it's about a CEO that doesn't like her job http://www.secret.com/share/secrets.asp?id=6.
I have done this one in the past. I've since learned that when I am just being me I am acting more like a millionaire than I previously realized http://www.secret.com/share/secrets.asp?id=15.
This one I know too well http://www.secret.com/share/secrets.asp?id=581.
I haven't posted a secret yet, but I will soon. I think it is cleansing to get secrets and I have a few that I would like to anonymously declare. And part of me says...why not do it to just do it and live a little dangerously ;)
When I do things I like to do it BIG. My husband is the same way. Meaning, when I make a payment to my credit cards, I like to pay a huge chunk at once. Why is that bad? Because I am actually saving money in my checking account in order to make a BIG payment. So I pay one $600 payment monthly but I could be paying $300 every two weeks.
One benefit of paying every two weeks is that on a yearly basis I would make more total payments!
Paying $300 times 26 weeks = $7,800
Paying $600 times 12 months = $7,200
That's a whole extra monthly payment that I would be making if I paid my card every two weeks.
I've somewhat started doing things that way last month. I sent a few hundred to one of my credit cards one week, then a few hundred a few weeks later. I wouldn't say that I am on 2-week schedule just yet but I am working on it. When you are used to paying things a certain way (and making sure there is enough money in the bank to do so), it can be hard to change.
But I am working on it :)
Bad Money Decision Confession Time #3
Bad Money Decision Confession Time #2
Bad Money Decision Confession Time #1
Thank you for everyone who entered. It was a tough decision. Denise, you are very much like me with wanting it to go someone else. You gave probably the answer that I would have gave - LOL. Jill, I have watched you and your husband's blogs and what you have done with them. Your ingenuity with blogging and your willingness to help others is awesome! Flower, that's great that you will be blogging about reducing your debt. When your site is set up, please let me know I'd love to link to you!
That leaves Kassy. One thing that I believe with all of my heart is that a person can accomplish so much when they have the right attitude and the willingness to improve themself. I see that sparkle in your entry and I hope that reading "The Millionaire Next Door" will open your eyes as it did mine. You will be receiving my copy and I look forward to hearing your thoughts about it and I can't wait till the giveaway on your blog. Please email me your address by July 15 and I will mail it out to you :)
If for some reason I do not hear from Kassy by then, I will choose a runner-up. Again, a thank you to everyone who entered :)
Without further ado, here are this week's articles for your reading pleasure:
..."No excuses. There is a path to success for everyone. Now, get moving."
Steve Faber presents Success is at Your Doorstep posted at Debt Free.
..."if you do take charge of your debt, it will become easier to pay them off."
Pete at My Financial Awareness presents True Story on Prosperity to Get Out of Debt.
..."If the reason you are in debt is because you have a hard time actually paying your bills at all, there are three things you can do"
Supermom_in_ny presents Three Ways To Conquer Debt! posted at Getting Out of Debt.
..."I'm more in
the pay off your debt, then save to invest cash crowd."
FMF at Free Money Finance presents Comments: Over One-Quarter of the Population on the Brink of Financial Disaster, Need Discipline.
..."If I wanted to refinance, I'd probably have a tough time finding a loan for that price..."
Mapgirl at Mapgirl's Fiscal Challenge presents Calculating Your Blended Rate.
..."The current environment of rising rates can play havoc
with the average family's budget."
Julie presents Surviving Rising Interest Rates posted at Money @ Families.com.
..."start locking themselves in a trap where they must keep on working to pay down the mortgage."
Harrison Loke at Journey To Financial Freedom presents Something We Should know about Home Loan and Mortgage.
..."We are very tight on our grocery budget and I hate to waste money on any paper products..."
Amy Allen Clark at The MotherLoad presents Solution for Cheap Trash Bags.
..."For the past several months I've been on the lookout for little, simple ways I could make some extra money"
The Family CEO presents Making My Money Count posted at The Family CEO.
..."Had I been an identity thief, I really could've ruined your life today"
Wenchypoo at Frugal Wisdom from Wenchypoo's Warehouse presents Ebony Hall, I saved your financial life today.
A few notes: A thank you to all who submitted articles this week. It was my pleasure to read them all and I found some great new blogs to visit regularly. Just a reminder, though, that the Carnival of Debt Reduction is for personal experiences with debt reduction and/or advice on how to reduce debt. There were a few off-topic submissions this week that I just couldn't put in a debt reduction category (but were personal finance related): Discover Card Get Set for Fall and Car Buying Tip - Money Down.
Next week, the Carnival moves on over to My Money Forest.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
As of 6/30/06, Credit Card #2 is paid off!! To see where it was back in February, click here.
There have been a few times since I started this blog that I wondered why the heck I was doing this and I almost hit the delete button. One time was when I ended up having to use my credit card for groceries and had to fess up (which wasn't fun).
I'm glad I didn't hit that button, because seeing progress like this is why I am doing this. There will be setbacks because no one is perfect. What matters is what you do with that setback and what you learn from it. Here's a quote I'd like to share:
"When you make a mistake, don't look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power."
- Hugh White
Saturday, July 01, 2006
May Net Worth $-49,309
June Net Worth $ - 48,477
Difference: Increase of $832
I guess what I would like to see is our Net Worth increasing by at least $1,000 every month. With the extra income we are now making and the credit cards now at very good interest rates, that is my Net Worth goal I am shooting for.